Date of Award:

12-2018

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Education

Advisor/Chair:

Michael Freeman

Abstract

The Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) programs are emerging high school programs emphasizing immersive, real-life professional experiences for students. CAPS programs endeavor to facilitate student-centered partnerships between business and public education to produce personalized learning experiences for students centered around the completion of real-world industry projects.

To ensure successful educational programs, leaders must consider more than simple outcome data or statistical descriptions of the program’s reliability and validity. Successful leaders of schools must also determine the program’s value from the perspective of the stakeholders it purports to serve—that is, by its social validity. Understanding what consumers of education do and do not find valuable is crucial when developing, implementing, and evaluating educational programs. Unfortunately, this type of evaluation is seldom utilized and has resulted in a nearly inaudible stakeholder voice in public education and its programs.

This study evaluated the dimensions of social validity associated with the CAPS program from the perspective of both students and industry partners as consumers. Social validity data was collected via a modified Behavior Intervention Rating Scale (BIRS). Participants were asked to rate CAPS programs by agreeing or disagreeing with each of 20 BIRS statements. Respondents included 459 students and 107 industry partners from twelve CAPS programs in six states.

Data from both students and industry partners were analyzed to determine the social validity of CAPS programs. Both students and industry partners rated CAPS programs impressively high on both its acceptability and its effectiveness. CAPS programs are well-positioned to continue to provide positive educational outcomes and experiences to both students and industry partners.

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