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Tech Prep Implementation in the United States: Promising Trends and Lingering Challenges (MDS-714)

D. Bragg, J. Layton, F. Hammons

The Carl D. Perkins Applied Technology and Vocational Education Act of 1990, commonly known as Perkins II, included Tech Prep within the special projects section (Title IIIE). Federal funds were appropriated for this initiative beginning in July of 1991. Since that time, each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia has been involved in Tech Prep education activities; all have contributed to the research findings reported in this document. In the summer of 1993, a questionnaire was mailed to 473 of the identified 855 local Tech Prep coordinators in the United States with 84% of those asked to participate returning a completed questionnaire. The research focused on these five research questions: (1) What are the characteristics of local Tech Prep consortia and their coordinators? (2) What are the goals, elements, and outcomes of local Tech Prep initiatives? (3) At what stage of implementation are local Tech Prep initiatives and selected Tech Prep components operating within those initiatives? (4) What barriers are perceived to impact local Tech Prep implementation? and (5) What do local coordinators perceive to be needed changes in state and federal policy?

Promising Trends and Lingering Challenges

Findings obtained for the five research questions were helpful in capturing a comprehensive description of how local Tech Prep implementation has proceeded in the United States through the first two years of federal support. Among this wealth of information, the survey responses revealed the following promising trends:

The data from this research also revealed the following lingering challenges:


The data collected and analyzed from this national study of local Tech Prep implementation support the following recommendations:

In conclusion, with local consortia having made commitments to the Tech Prep concept, promising trends are emerging with evidence of enthusiasm reported among educators, parents, students, and employers. These groups appear to be utilizing the Tech Prep concept to improve existing educational systems, expanding students' opportunities to be productive in the workplace and successful in life's pursuits. A continuing challenge for our nation is to support the many local Tech Prep consortia that show commitment to Tech Prep in ways that can ensure reform will be significant and lasting.

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