Students' Indicators of Quality in Emerging School-to-Work Programs

L. A. Phelps, V. Hernandez-Gantes, J. Jones, D. Sanchez, A. H. Nieri

What do students think of the new school-to-work programs? Research has focused on program-level issues like curriculum and staff development, overlooking the views of the consumers--students. The many quotations in this paper show how a career orientation in schools inspires students, as they speak enthusiastically about opportunities to connect school and work, to translate theories into practical applications. (As a student puts it, "I didn't want to get caught up in the book stuff.") The work-based component is clearly central to program success; as one student says, "The internship is better than the classroom experience because you are actually doing instead of seeing." Students also mention connecting learning and career development between secondary and postsecondary as a program strength. The authors remind us of the continuing challenge to engage all students. They encourage the use of teaching methods such as journals that reflect students' voices more clearly, and suggest including students on governing boards and advisory panels, so that their perspectives can influence professional development and curriculum building.

MDS-1071 / June 1996

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