Middle school teachers' perceptions toward integrating academic and career/technical education
Baxter, Robyn Gail
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This descriptive study investigated the influence of work experience and subject area domain on the perceptions of middle school teachers toward the integration of academic and career/technical education. An original survey was used to assess teacher perceptions. The survey contained a short demographic section along with 29 statements meant to gauge teacher perceptions toward integrating these two curricula. A Cronbach alpha for the overall instrument produced a score of .883, which suggests strong internal reliability. Scores were also run for each of the factors that made up perception. Cronbach alpha coeffients for survey sections also were acceptable: (a) benefit = .884; (b) need = .819; and (c) confidence = .726. All full-time middle school teachers in an urban school district in northeast Georgia served as the sample. A total of 160 valid responses were returned providing a response rate of 71%. Descriptive statistics were used to describe participants’ work experience and subject area teaching domain. A series of one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedures were used to compare the perceptions of teachers based on their work experience and subject area domain. No significant differences were found in teacher perceptions toward integrating academic and career/technical curriculum based on subject area domain. No statistically significant difference in teacher perception was found on the benefit and need factors of perception between teachers with part-time and those with full-time work experience. A statistically significant difference was found on the confidence factor of perception when comparing teachers based on work experience. Effect size for this difference was .05, which indicates a medium effect. This study adds to the body of literature on curriculum integration and teachers’ beliefs and attitudes toward this initiative. It provides support for a link between teacher confidence and action when it comes to integrating curriculum. Teachers in this study reported feeling unprepared to integrate academic and career/technical curriculum. Therefore, meaningful and sustained professional development should be provided to prepare teachers for this initiative.