Stages of concern in the implementation of tech prep programs in Virginia

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Virginia Tech

Curriculum innovations, such as Tech Prep, provide practitioners an avenue to change expectations, attitudes, teaching styles, and organizational structure. However, the benefits of educational innovations are not fully realized until those practitioners, such as administrators, academic teachers, vocational teachers, and guidance counselors, adopt and implement change in the classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine the concerns of Tech Prep practitioners at the secondary level in the state of Virginia as measured by the Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM).

The population for this study was 322 individuals consisting of administrators, academic teachers, vocational teachers and guidance counselors involved in implementation of Tech Prep programs for two years or longer. Based on the findings of this study the following conclusions are presented.

Based on the theory of the CBAM and the mean scores of the Stages of Concern, indications are these practitioners are becoming experienced users of the Tech Prep concept.

The two highest SoC mean scores for the four groups were either Collaboration or Consequence Stage. It was concluded that staff development should relate to strategies necessary to increase student outcomes and cooperation and coordination of others.

Practitioners involved with Tech Prep have passed the self-concerns (Awareness, Informational, and Personal Stages) and task-concerns (Management). The Stages of Concern for all groups evolved around impact-concerns (Consequence, Collaboration, and Refocusing Stages).

It was concluded that the level of involvement by administrators, academic teachers, and vocational teachers during implementation of Tech Prep is related to the Stages of Concern. There was not a significant relationship between the Stages of Concern and level of involvement for counselors.

Selected recommendations drawn from the findings and conclusions are:

• Attention should continue to focus on concerns, attitudes and expectations of practitioners as they proceed with the continuation of Tech Prep in Virginia.

• This study should be replicated with larger sample sizes and questionnaires submitted at the beginning of the innovation adoption and at designated periods after the implementation process. Such longitudinal studies may determine linkage between time, staff development activities, integration of vocational and academic studies, and the SoC of practitioners.

• Focus by teacher educators, the Virginia Department of Education staff, vocational-technical and academic personnel, should concentrate on collaborative techniques and student competencies. It is recommended that policy be developed to include extensive professional development and increased dialogue among practitioners as they implement Tech Prep programs.