Integrating Curriculum:           Lessons for Adult Education   from Career and Technical Education                      K...
This report was produced under National Institute for Literacy Contract No.ED-04-CO-0121/0002 with MPR Associates, Inc. It...
Table of ContentsExecutive Summary  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . ...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical EducationExecutive Summary                  ...
National Institute for Literacyboth work and further education or training, not simply       content from two or more disc...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationarchitecture, business, engineering...
National Institute for Literacyapproach to course integration, and the best examples        Cross-Curriculum Integrationin...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Education   science, technology and engineer...
National Institute for Literacy    to earning a high school diploma or GED designed             Career majors integrate CT...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationacademies bring together groups of ...
National Institute for Literacy(ConnectEd: The California Center for College and              the fifth follow-up year. Ea...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationlevels is necessary (National Mathe...
National Institute for Literacygrants. An 11th district recently joined the initiative and is      •	 To address various l...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationperformance-based summative and for...
National Institute for LiteracyFord Partnership for Advanced Studies (PAS)                         Partnerships are a sign...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical EducationSkills theme and recommends additio...
National Institute for LiteracyPAS sites and build on the schools’ existing relationships        integrated projects and b...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationimprove student outcomes can help m...
National Institute for Literacy    I*CANS: Integrated Curriculum for Achieving                       was able to teach ski...
Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationwithin integrated curricula to help...
Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education
Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education
Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education
Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education
Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education
Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education
Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education
Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education
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Integrating curriculum; lessons for adult education from career and technical education

  1. 1. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Education Kathleen Chernus and Donna Fowler September 2010
  2. 2. This report was produced under National Institute for Literacy Contract No.ED-04-CO-0121/0002 with MPR Associates, Inc. It was written by KathleenChernus, Director, Adult Education, MPR Associates, Inc. and Donna Fowler,Director, Communications, MPR Associates, Inc. Lynn Reddy served as thecontracting officer’s representative. The views expressed herein do notnecessarily represent the positions or policies of the National Institute forLiteracy. No official endorsement by the National Institute for Literacy of anyproduct, commodity, or enterprise in this publication is intended or should beinferred.For quality assurance purposes, drafts of publications commissioned by theNational Institute for Literacy are subjected to a rigorous external peer reviewprocess by independent experts. This review process seeks to ensure thateach report is impartial and objective and that the findings are supported byscientific research.The National Institute for Literacy, a Federal government agency, is a catalystfor advancing a comprehensive literacy agenda. The Institute bridges policy,research and practice to prompt action and deepen public understanding ofliteracy as a national asset.Daniel Miller, Acting DirectorLynn Reddy, Deputy DirectorSeptember 2010The citation for this report should be: National Institute for Literacy,Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career andTechnical Education, Washington, DC 20006
  3. 3. Table of ContentsExecutive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Introduction: Adult Educationin a Perfect Storm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1What Is Curriculum Integration? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Background on Curriculum Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Major Elements and Types ofCurriculum Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Research on Curriculum Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7Research on Learning in Context: K–12and Adult Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Models of Curriculum Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Supports and Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Curriculum Integration in Adult Education:Some Promising Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Curriculum Integration in Adult Education:Some Promising Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Supports and Challenges in Implementingthe Integrated Curriculum in Adult Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
  4. 4. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical EducationExecutive Summary statistics, for example, indicate that the demand for work- ers in high-wage, middle-skill jobs continues to be strongPolicymakers and educators are paying increased atten- and that adults need help gaining the skills required fortion to determining how best to prepare those in adult those jobs. Currently, about 50 percent of all jobs areeducation programs not only for immediate employment, middle-skill jobs, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics pre-but also for career advancement and further training or dicts that about half of all job openings in the next decadepostsecondary education. This focus echoes current efforts will be in occupational categories that include primarilyamong secondary educators, particularly those in career middle-skill positions (Holzer & Lerman, 2009). Laborand technical education (CTE), to ensure that high school market data also predict a decline in the growth of skillsgraduates are ready for both college and a career—not one at the middle level, which translates into a need for edu-or the other. Are there strategies currently in use in high cation and training that will enable low-skill adults andschools that could inform efforts in adult education to pre- youth to move into these middle-skill jobs (Holzer &pare adults for both work and further education? Lerman, 2009). The authors examine one strategy—the integrated Several large-scale national and international surveyscurriculum—now being implemented in various forms in confirm that many U.S. adults lack sufficient literacy andhigh schools to see if adult education might benefit from numeracy skills to function effectively in an increasinglya similar approach. The integrated curriculum combines competitive work environment. The National Assessmentacademic and technical content in programs that focus on of Adult Literacy (National Center for Educationproblem solving, active engagement in projects and real- Statistics, 2003) puts the number at 93 million adultsworld applications of the knowledge and skills taught. This whose skills in prose, document and quantitative literacypaper reviews several types of curriculum integration and are at basic or below-basic levels. These forces and figuresexamines research on its effects, primarily in K–12 edu- pose a challenge to policymakers and adult educators:cation, since research in adult education is sparse. After How can adult education better prepare these adults fordiscussing two curriculum integration models in detail— today’s workplace, for further education and career ad-the multiple pathways approach promoted by ConnectEd: vancement, and for their roles as citizens and parents?The California Center for College and Career, and the Holzer and Lerman suggest that high-quality careerFord Partnership for Advanced Studies (PAS) pro- and technical education (CTE), career academies, careergram—the authors describe several efforts to incorporate pathways programs and apprenticeships can prepareintegrated curricula in adult education. They conclude that youth for further education and training and, ultimately,three approaches have promising prospects for expanding for well-paid middle-skill jobs. The same holds true forintegrated curriculum efforts already under way in adult adults. Holzer and Lerman advocate similar programseducation: course integration, cross-curriculum integra- that can link adults with employers offering middle-skilltion and program integration. positions, such as career ladders, apprenticeships provided by community colleges or private career schools, and pre- bridge and bridge programs (Holzer & Lerman, 2009;Introduction: Adult Women Employed with Chicago Jobs Council and UICEducation in a Perfect Storm Great Cities Institute, 2005). They note that apprentice-U.S. adults lacking adequate literacy and numeracy skills ships feature learning in context and can be an effectivefind it difficult to succeed at work and to participate fully way to teach technical and other skills, such as communi-in their communities. These adults are especially vulner- cation and problem to the “perfect storm” identified by Kirsch, Braun, The pedagogical issues involved are not new, nor areYamamoto, and Sum (2007), a convergence of three they confined to the field of adult education. CTE pro-powerful forces: divergent skill distributions, a changing grams in secondary schools face similar issues. The twoeconomy and demographic trends. Recent labor market fields also share a concern about preparing students for 1
  5. 5. National Institute for Literacyboth work and further education or training, not simply content from two or more disciplines; has well-definedone or the other. CTE has adopted several approaches educational objectives (such as academic, industry andthat may have potential for improving adults’ prospects workforce-readiness standards) and uses authentic appliedfor a successful transition to postsecondary education and problems (problem-based learning) to engage and chal-training and high-skill, high-wage employment. These lenge students.include, for example, integrated curricula, multiple path- As discussed in this paper, curriculum integration notways, work-based learning and partnerships with business only joins academic and CTE content, it also incorpo-and industry. Various CTE approaches combine some or rates academic, CTE and work-readiness standards andall of these features. employs project- or problem-based learning focused on This paper focuses on one of these approaches, in- “real-world” issues relevant to students’ lives and interests.tegrated curriculum, an instructional approach seeing There is research evidence suggesting that manya resurgence in high schools and community colleges, students learn better when courses are taught in a real-and asks, what can adult education learn from secondary world context, when classroom learning connects to theeducation, particularly the CTE approach to integrat- workplace and when abstract concepts or knowledgeing academic and career and technical curricula? Which, are linked to real problems (Stasz, 1997, in Bailey &if any, secondary education integration strategies can be Matasuzuka, 2003; Stasz & Grubb, 1991, in Stasz,adapted for adult education or help expand integration Kaganoff, & Eden, 1995). By providing students withefforts already under way in adult basic education (ABE), both high-level academic and in-demand technical skills,adult secondary education (ASE) (including GED), curriculum integration may help promote transitions toEnglish as a second language (ESL) and workforce basic postsecondary education and careers (Bradby, Malloy,skills? After examining lessons learned primarily from sec- Hanna, & Dayton, 2007). Using multiple instructionalondary-level experience with curriculum integration, the approaches, as is common in curriculum integration,paper discusses ways adult education might incorporate also can enable students to master more challenging con-at least some elements of curriculum integration and the cepts and skills (Gardner, 1993; Hoachlander, 1999, inimplications for broadening the role of adult education in Chernus et al., 2001).preparing adults for success in the 21st-century workplace. The overarching goal of curriculum integration is to expand students’ options for the future, something equallyWhat Is Curriculum Integration? important to high school graduates and to adults seekingCurriculum integration takes a variety of forms, but in to improve their economic prospects. Although manygeneral, it is an attempt to connect academic and career students want and need to go to work right away, an inte-and technical instruction in ways that will prepare stu- grated curriculum keeps open the possibility of additionaldents for further education or training, employment and education and training. It enables them to prepare not justcareers. Researchers offer several overlapping definitions for their next job, but also for further education that canof curriculum integration. For example, Johnson, Charner, help them advance in a career.and White (2003) describe it as a series of strategies con-necting academic and CTE content, so that, over time, Background on Curriculum Integrationone area becomes a “platform for instruction” in the other. Curriculum integration is not new. As John Dewey wroteAnother definition states that integration is designed to in “Democracy and Education,” “Education through oc-strengthen the academic base of work-related skills while cupations…combines within itself more of the factorsproviding context and motivation for academic learning conducive to learning than any other method” (1916, p.(Bailey, 1997; Brown, 1998, in Bailey & Matasuzuka, 361). Problem-based learning—integrating academic and2003). A more detailed definition comes from Chernus technical skills, theory and practice in the context of real-and colleagues (2001), who characterize curriculum inte- world problems—has been used in professional traininggration as an instructional approach that incorporates key for decades, in such fields as medicine, health sciences,2
  6. 6. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationarchitecture, business, engineering, law and social work Major Elements and Types of(Chernus et al., 2001). Curriculum Integration Over time there has been a shift in the CTE field to an Although the components of curriculum integration canintegrated approach. Educators and policymakers realized vary according to the different types of integration (de-that traditional CTE programs, which taught students scribed below), there are common basic elements:specific occupational skills and aimed them toward workrather than further education, no longer best served either • Shared purpose among administrators and teach-students or our increasingly complex and global economy. ers in implementing curriculum integration toFederal policymakers have endorsed the integration of increase student achievementacademic and vocational/career and technical education. • Content from two or more disciplines (academicThe 1990 amendments to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and CTE)Education Act of 1984, Public Law 98-524, specifiedthat Perkins funds be used “to provide vocational educa- • Well-defined educational objectives, such astion in programs that integrate academic and vocational academic content standards, industry skilleducation…through coherent sequences of courses so that standards and workforce-readiness standards (e.g.,students achieve both academic and occupational compe- Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessarytencies” (Section 235). To be eligible for funds, schools Skills [SCANS])were required to describe how they would integrate aca- • Real-world context and authentic problems thatdemic and vocational disciplines (Section 240). This goal engage and challenge studentswas reiterated in the 1998 Perkins reauthorization, theCarl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of Curriculum integration takes a variety of forms, in-2006, Public Law 109-270 (Perkins IV) and the School- cluding course integration, cross-curriculum integration,to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994, Public Law 103-239. program integration, and schoolwide integration and ca- After the 1990 Perkins amendments, the percentage reer academies.of secondary schools offering an integrated curriculumincreased from 55 percent in 1997 to 69 percent in 1999. Course IntegrationDuring the same period, the percentage of secondary Course integration combines academic and CTE contentstudents studying integrated curricula increased from 35 within courses and may include commercially producedto 40 percent (Medrich, White, & Beltranena, 2001, in curricula; curricula developed by researchers, curriculumJohnson et al., 2003). developers, subject matter experts and industry repre- States increasingly are interested in the integrated cur- sentatives; and teacher-developed curricula. Academicriculum approach. In 2008, the National Association of content may be infused into CTE courses and viceState Boards of Education Study Group on Promoting versa. Teachers use work contexts to motivate students,Excellence in Career and Technical Education identified but often focus mainly on basic skills to the neglect ofkey components of CTE and recommended that state higher-level academic content and skills (Grubb, David,boards adopt policies to integrate CTE and academic Lum, Plihal, & Morgaine, 1991; Stasz et al., 1995). Incoursework and standards. The group also noted the the 1990s, “applied academics”2 was the most commonimportance of aligning academic and industry standards“to ensure transitions beyond high school, especially in 2 The term “applied academics” generally refers to curricula thatcreating pathways for students interested in pursuing a show how academic subjects relate to the world of work. Applied academics also refers to curricula developed by state consortiafour-year degree.”1 and organizations, such as the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) and the Agency for Instructional Technology (AIT), in subjects such as applied communications,1 Retrieved August 4, 2009, from applied mathematics and principles of technology (applied physics).news/49-spotlight/489-new-nov08?tmpl=componentand They include stand-alone units that can be used to structure aprint=1and page. whole course or integrated into academic or CTE courses. 3
  7. 7. National Institute for Literacyapproach to course integration, and the best examples Cross-Curriculum Integrationincluded team teaching by academic and CTE teachers Cross-curriculum integration involves teams of academic(Grubb et al., 1991; Stasz et al., 1995). The most promis- and CTE teachers and possibly others, including subjecting form of course integration uses examples from career matter experts, curriculum developers and industry rep-and technical coursework to teach academic concepts, so resentatives, who work to connect curricula and developthat students see applications outside the CTE context authentic projects incorporating course content andin which the information and theories were originally academic, work-readiness and CTE or industry skills stan-presented. Instructors similarly use examples from aca- dards. Teachers find connections among classes for one ordemic coursework to illustrate real-world applications more projects or share plans for what they will cover dur-(Johnson et al., 2003). For example, the Ford Partnership ing a course and modify the sequence of concepts taughtfor Advanced Studies (Ford PAS) curriculum in subject so related units can be taught concurrently in differentareas such as business, economics, engineering and tech- courses. They develop integrated projects building onnology may be incorporated into individual courses as well points of intersection (Hoachlander, 1999).3 As a result,as across courses. A detailed description of the Ford PAS students experience the subject matter as connected andmodel is included below. reinforcing, rather than separate and unrelated (Grubb Another example of course integration is the Math-in- et al., 1991). One way to reinforce the alignment is toCTE model developed by the National Research Center start with an industry theme and incorporate challengingfor Career and Technical Education. The subject of exper- academics, technical skills and real-world applicationsimental design research, Math-in-CTE is both a process (Chernus et al., 2001). When properly implemented, thisand an instructional approach that incorporates math- approach can help students integrate material from veryenhanced lessons implemented in CTE courses, which different courses and disciplines and allows for maximumresult in improved math skills. The model first identifies individualization (Grubb et al., 1991).areas in the CTE curriculum where math naturally occurs.Supported by in-depth professional development, CTE Program Integration: Career Clusters,and math teacher teams then develop math-enhanced Career Pathways and Multiple Pathways,lessons using a pedagogic framework created for this ap- Career Majors and Tech Prepproach (see In this type of program integration, education focusesSevenElements.html). Next, CTE teachers develop scope- around specific careers or clusters of careers, so that whileand-sequence plans for their own curriculum. It requires students are prepared for employment and advancementa “critical mass” of CTE teachers from a particular career in a specific career area, they also acquire the knowledgearea who are paired with math teachers for professional and skills to pursue postsecondary education or training.development over the course of an academic year. Math- The integrated curriculum is a component of each of thesein-CTE is built on five core principles: developing and types of programs.sustaining a community of practice among participatingteachers, focusing first on the CTE curriculum rather than Career clusters group careers and occupationsthe math curriculum, recognizing that math is a funda- around common academic, technical and workplacemental workplace skill, maximizing the math in the CTE knowledge and skills. Career clusters identify thecurriculum and acknowledging that CTE teachers teach requisite academic and technical knowledge andMath-in-CTE, not math per se. For more information, see skills for a broad range of careers, from entry through management and professional levels. The U.S. Department of Education identified 16 career clusters: agriculture, food and natural resources; 3 Integrated projects or units can take from one or two weeks to an entire term.4
  8. 8. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Education science, technology and engineering; architecture or a baccalaureate degree and beyond.”5 CCTI de- and construction; arts, audio/visual technology scribes a secondary-level model career pathway as and communications; business management and meeting state academic standards and grade-level administration; education and training; finance; gov- expectations; responding to high school testing and ernment and public administration; health science; exit requirements; and meeting college entrance and hospitality and tourism; human services; informa- placement requirements. An ideal secondary-level tion technology; law, public safety, corrections pathway also provides academic and career-related and security; manufacturing; science, technology, education in student-selected career clusters and engineering and mathematics; and transporta- offers opportunities for students to take college-level tion, distribution and logistics.4 The integrated courses and earn college credit while in high school. curriculum is among 15 components critical to At the postsecondary level, a model career pathway implementing career clusters. Some others are ca- provides opportunities for students to earn college reer development, shared planning, administrative credit through dual enrollment or articulation agree- support, professional development, parent and com- ments; gain knowledge and skills in career clusters munity support, business and industry partnerships that meet industry standards; and access employ- and education partnerships. Each career cluster ment, business and entrepreneurship opportunities is made up of multiple career pathways. For more in selected career areas. In addition, the pathway information about career clusters, see aligns and articulates with four-year college degree programs (Warford, 2006, pp. 21–22). Career pathways and multiple pathways offer students In a paper describing the economic rationale for coherent programs of study within the context of career pathways, the Workforce Strategy Center broad industry themes. They integrate challenging defines career pathways as “a series of connected academic instruction and career and technical cur- education and training programs and support ser- ricula with real-world applications. Pathways cut vices that enable individuals to secure employment across traditional departments, prepare students within a specific industry or occupational sector, and for postsecondary education degree and certificate to advance over time to successively higher levels of programs, employment training and careers, and fa- education and employment in that sector” ( Jenkins, cilitate articulation with postsecondary institutions. 2006, p. 6). Career pathways are designed to prepare Additional partners include business and industry current and future workers to meet the local labor and other community organizations (ConnectEd, market needs of key industries.; Grubb et al., 1991; Hoachlander, 1999; Stasz et al., Multiple pathways, like career pathways, are defined 2004; Warford, 2006). in different ways. ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career describes multiple pathways Career pathways are defined in different ways. The as comprehensive programs of study that combine U.S. Department of Education College and Careers rigorous academic and technical content and practi- Transition Initiative (CCTI) defines career path- cal applications organized around an industry theme, ways as “a coherent, articulated sequence of rigorous with the goal of preparing all students for college and academic and technical courses commencing in the careers (Hoachlander, Sterns, & Studier, 2008). In ninth grade and leading to an associate degree, an New York City, “multiple pathways” is shorthand for industry recognized certificate or licensure, and/ Multiple Pathways to Graduation, an alternate route4 Retrieved September 20, 2009, from www.careerclusters. 5 Retrieved September 23, 2009, from the CCTI Web site, 5
  9. 9. National Institute for Literacy to earning a high school diploma or GED designed Career majors integrate CTE and academic instruc- especially for students at risk of dropping out.6 This tion, often in occupational high schools emphasizing definition is also used to describe similar programs preparation for related occupations, such as schools in other cities supported by the U.S. Department of focused on aviation and aerospace careers. In some Labor and Jobs for the Future (Richmond, 2009). cases, schools replace traditional departments with The first definition is most relevant to the discussion career-focused departments including both academic in this paper. and CTE teachers. This approach often, but not always, includes integrated coursework (Grubb et al., The ConnectEd approach to multiple pathways 1991; Stasz et al., 2004). emphasizes both in-school and out-of-school student-adult relationships and helps students meet Tech Prep programs combine a minimum of two the demands of challenging coursework and postsec- years of secondary education with at least two years ondary and career goals through academic support of postsecondary education in a sequential course services and career counseling (Hoachlander et of study that integrates academic study and CTE, al., 2008). These types of multiple pathway pro- meets state academic and technical standards and grams take a variety of forms, such as academies, incorporates work-based learning for the purpose small learning communities, other small schools of preparing young people for high-skill, high-wage with career themes and occupational centers. The or high-demand occupations. Tech Prep requires description of ConnectEd below provides detailed articulation agreements between secondary and information on how the curriculum is integrated in postsecondary institutions.8 Some Tech Prep multiple pathways. programs offer students dual high school and com- munity college credit for completing certain Tech Career majors are coherent sequences of courses or Prep courses. Like other CTE programs, Tech Prep fields of study that prepare students for their first supports the use of contextual and applied curricula, jobs, integrate academic and occupational con- instruction and assessment. tent and work-based learning, create connections between secondary and postsecondary education and prepare students for employment in broad Schoolwide Integration and Career Academies occupational clusters or industry sectors. They usu- Schoolwide integration and career academies are the ally include a minimum of two years of secondary most challenging types of curriculum integration to education and one or two years of postsecondary implement because they involve multiple teams of teach- education, provide students with substantial ex- ers. Schoolwide integration includes collaboration among perience in and understanding of all aspects of the teams of academic and CTE teachers to integrate the cur- industry and result in the award of a high school riculum and applications in real-world contexts within a diploma or its equivalent, postsecondary certificate, school or academy career theme. Examples of schoolwide skill certificate or diploma. They may also lead to integration sites include occupational high schools and further education and training, including apprentice- magnet schools. ship programs or admission to two- or four-year Career academies are small learning communities that postsecondary education.7 focus on a career theme and offer courses combining aca- demic and CTE content, including authentic applications.6 Retrieved September 23, 2009, from Education Week, High Examples of common themes are health, business andSchool Connections blog, finance, arts and communications, computers, engineering,high-school-connections/2009/07/multiple_pathways_new_ and law and government (Stern & Stearns, 2006). Careeryork_and.html.7 School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994, Public Law 103- 8 Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006,239, Section 4. Public Law 109-270, Title II, Section 203(c).6
  10. 10. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationacademies bring together groups of students and teams as a response to perceived problems in a system thatof teachers by industry sectors. Teachers use common separated academic and vocational education. Problemsplanning time to develop interdisciplinary units. Students included students’ poor basic and work-related skills,participating in these units may receive credit in more than inability to apply theory to practical problems, lack of en-one class (Stern & Stearns, 2006). Often academies pro- gagement in school and poor transition from high schoolvide support for integrating the curriculum through block to college or the workplace (Bodilly, Ramsey, Stasz, &scheduling (making it easier to ensure common planning Eden, 1993). A study of seven high school curriculumtime). Academies also establish partnerships with local integration sites found that many teachers involved in in-employers to provide work-based learning opportunities. tegration considered themselves more effective teachers asAs of 2008, the United States had approximately 2,500 a result of the experience (Johnson et al., 2003).career academies (Kemple & Willner, 2008). Stone and colleagues (2008) emphasize the importance of collaboration between academic and CTE teachers.Research on Curriculum Integration The authors cite findings from the recent evaluation ofResearch on curriculum integration is limited. Most stud- the Urban Systemic Initiative, a program funded by theies cited in this paper provide suggestive evidence, with National Science Foundation that supports reform inthe exception of random-assignment studies, including K–12 science and math education. The evaluation showedStone, Alfeld, and Pearson (2008); Kemple and Willner that “schools in which teachers reported the most in-(2008) and Zambrowski and Gordon (1993). The limited volvement in learning communities had the highest gainsresearch evidence on curriculum integration is mixed. on student test scores” (p. 23).10 In the same report, theAccording to Stern and Stearns (2006), “Getting clear-cut authors found that, in an experimental-design study ofresearch results has been difficult because most studies enhanced math instruction in CTE, students in the exper-have not been able to determine whether apparent effects imental classrooms performed equally on technical skillsare due to particular programs or to the selection of par- and significantly better on two standardized tests of mathticular kinds of students into those programs” (p. 1). ability compared with control students. Stasz and colleagues (1995) reviewed the literature on A study of California’s Partnership Academies showedcurriculum integration in the late 1980s and early 1990s that at least half of academy students are considered atand found little hard evidence of effectiveness in the few risk. Academy students were much more likely than theirevaluation studies at that time, with the exception of an nonacademy counterparts to complete the 15 academicexperimental-design evaluation of New York City’s career courses required for admission to California’s public col-magnet schools.9 That study identified benefits to students leges and universities; 50 percent of graduating academywith weak academic records, atypical candidates for a mag- seniors had completed the requirements, compared withnet school. These benefits included reduced likelihood of 39 percent of graduates statewide. Researchers founddropping out between middle and high school; improved higher pass rates on the state’s high school exit examina-reading scores; and additional credits toward graduation. tion among black academy students, as compared withIn a companion study, the same researchers found that all black students. Graduation rates also were higherstudents in career magnets had more confidence in their among academy seniors (96 percent) than among highability to secure employment and more varied future plans school seniors statewide (87 percent) (Bradby et al.,than did comprehensive high school students. 2007). Further, data show that 59 percent of students in A study of eight high schools implementing an inte- California Partnership Academies met entrance require-grated curriculum found that the approach was promoted ments for state postsecondary institutions, compared with only 39 percent of students not in Partnership Academies9 Crain, R., Heebner, A., & Si, Y.-P. (1992). The effectiveness ofNew York City’s career magnet schools: An evaluation of ninth grade 10 For more information on the evaluation, see Borman, K., andperformance using an experimental design. Berkeley, CA: National Associates. (2005). Meaningful urban education reform: ConfrontingCenter for Research in Vocational Education. Quoted in Stasz et the learning crisis in mathematics and science. Albany, NY: SUNYal., 1995, p. 53. Press. 7
  11. 11. National Institute for Literacy(ConnectEd: The California Center for College and the fifth follow-up year. Earnings effects were greater forCareer, 2008). participants with 12 years of schooling. The Manpower Development Research Corporationconducted a 10-year random-assignment study of ca- Research on Learning in Context:reer academies in nine high schools across the country. K–12 and Adult EducationThe study examined the effects of career academies on The integrated curriculum is a form of contextualizedstudents’ labor market prospects and postsecondary learning that uses the context of the real world, includingeducational attainment in the eight years following their the world of work, to engage students and prepare themexpected graduation. Participants were more than 1,700 for transition to postsecondary education and careers.students, of whom about 85 percent were Hispanic or Contextualized learning has been employed in both K–12black. Some findings (Kemple & Willner, 2008) include: and adult education. • Academy students had sustained earning gains In K–12 education, much of the research on con- averaging 11 percent more per year than their non- textualized learning looks broadly at this approach to academy counterparts. instruction, which, like curriculum integration, is defined in many different ways. Although the integrated cur- • Increased earnings for young men resulted from riculum is a type of contextualized instruction, there are increases in wages and/or hours worked or others, such as problem-based learning—using academic employment stability. knowledge and skills to solve real-world personal, family or work-related problems. Research findings are mixed, • Results demonstrated the possibility of but some studies demonstrate positive effects of contextu- strengthening the preparation of students for the alized learning on student performance. This topic clearly workforce and transition to employment “without needs more rigorous research. compromising academic goals and preparation for In an experimental-design study, Stone, Alfeld, college” (p. iii). Pearson, Lewis, and Jensen (2006) looked at whether the • Programs only partially implemented or using only math-enhanced CTE curriculum improves student math some features of the academy approach may not performance. This study of more than 230 CTE teachers, see similar results. Further research is needed to 100 math teachers and 3,900 students found that, after determine the effects of key academy components. one year, students in the experimental group performed significantly better on traditional and applied tests of math A job-training program that integrated basic skills with knowledge and skills than did other students.occupational content was the subject of experimental-de- According to the President’s National Mathematicssign research conducted in the early 1990s; results showed Advisory Panel, there are only a few high-quality studieshigher earnings for participants (Zambrowski & Gordon, on learning in context. A meta-analysis of four of 10 stud-1993). This study examined four community-based or- ies that met the panel’s criteria for high-quality researchganizations operating employment training programs found that “if mathematical ideas are taught using ‘real-for minority single mothers. One site, the Center for world’ contexts, then students’ performance on assessmentsEmployment Training (CET) in San Jose, Calif., stood involving similar problems is improved.” Performance onout because of its approach, which included concur- assessments of other aspects of mathematics learning, how-rent and integrated work and learning opportunities, ever, did not improve. The meta-analysis also showed that,supplemental GED and English language courses, and for upper elementary, middle school and remedial ninth-collaboration with employers on curricula. Job training graders in some math domains, incorporating real-worldfocused on competencies required by employers for work contexts into instruction has a positive impact on certainin high-demand fields. Researchers found that CET par- types of problem solving. The panel concluded that furtherticipants demonstrated significant earnings gains during research on the use of real-world problems in other grade8
  12. 12. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationlevels is necessary (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, This paper describes ConnectEd and Ford PAS in2008, pp. 49–50). depth. They were selected because of their potential ap- Stone and colleagues (2008) highlight an issue of some plicability to adult education. Adult educators couldconcern to researchers who have studied contextualized consider ways to adapt these approaches to fit the broadlearning in K–12: the possibility that knowledge acquired range of programs, settings, structures, student demo-in one context may not transfer to another because it is graphics, and student interests and needs found in adult“embedded” in the situation in which it was learned (p. 6). education. The other three models include componentsThe researchers point out the importance of being able to that may be useful to adult educators as well, but as aapply skills learned in an education setting to other set- whole, are not as easily transferable.tings, especially in today’s workplace, where workers mustadapt to changing situations and demands. ConnectEd: The California Center In adult education, there are fewer studies of con- for College and Careertextualized learning, and, as in K–12, results are mixed Founded by the James Irvine Foundation in 2006,and more research is needed. The U.S. Department ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Careerof Education What Works Clearinghouse recognized works to advance practice, policy and research on multiple“functional-context education,” which integrates job pathways to college and career in California high schools.content with literacy skills, as an effective approach in ConnectEd provides schools and districts committed to2002 (Fletcher, 2006, in Hoachlander et al., 2008). Using multiple pathways with grant support, technical assis-both quantitative and qualitative methods, researchers in tance, shared resources and other forms of assistance (seeEngland studied more than 1,900 adult learners enrolled 16 vocational programs that integrate (or “embed”) ConnectEd’s approach includes challenging academicbasic skills with vocational training. Participants had instruction that meets state standards and California pub-higher retention rates and increased achievement in adult lic postsecondary education entrance requirements, taughtliteracy, numeracy, English as a second/other language in the context of real-world applications; demandingand vocational training than learners not enrolled in the technical instruction emphasizing workplace applications;integrated courses (Casey et al., 2006). and work-based learning, such as internships and virtual apprenticeships. To implement the multiple pathwaysModels of Curriculum Integration approach, ConnectEd has established a network of 16Several current secondary school curriculum integra- pathway programs throughout the state. Members of thetion initiatives, including the following well-documented network were selected to help ConnectEd document andmodels, incorporate the major elements and types of cur- replicate innovative and effective career-themed teachingriculum integration described above: and learning practices in California high schools. These districts receive technical assistance to support the devel- • California Partnership Academies (www.cde. opment of high-quality pathways programs, including, for example, leadership development training, teacher profes- • ConnectEd: The California Center for College and sional development, and development of and training in Career ( using an integrated curriculum. Since late 2008, ConnectEd also has been working • Ford PAS ( on whole-district high school education improvement in 11 districts. Ten of these districts received initial plan- • Math-in-CTE ( ning grants to establish communitywide partnerships and Math-In) identify strategies to expand their pathways. Six districts • National Academy Foundation ( received implementation grants in June 2009, while the other four received continued planning and development 9
  13. 13. National Institute for Literacygrants. An 11th district recently joined the initiative and is • To address various learning styles and achievementsupporting participation with internal funding. levels In addition to working with the network and district • To differentiate instructionsites, ConnectEd provides technical assistance to otherlocal schools and districts seeking to adopt a multiple • To link students with professionals in variouspathways approach and develops state and local support careersfor multiple pathways among policymakers and such com-munity partners as industry, postsecondary institutions, Consistent with guidance in the “Practical Manual,”parents and others. ConnectEd has provided professional development and Designing and implementing curricula for multiple has used the following approach to design integrated cur-pathways schools is a major ConnectEd activity. As a riculum dedicated to this work, ConnectEd is identify- Each integrated curriculum unit is structured by aning and evaluating innovative, effective curriculum models, Essential Question and Key Questions. Units include amethods of instruction and school organization and is de- unit summary, subunits and major topics, lesson plans,veloping tools to evaluate the success of rigorous real-world resources, necessary materials, classroom managementlearning. To help teachers create the integrated curriculum, and support strategies, student activities and assessments,ConnectEd has produced “Designing a Multidisciplinary possible extensions and descriptions of the culminatingIntegrated Curriculum: A Practical Manual.” event (described below), learning scenarios and the roles of ConnectEd also has developed integrated curricu- teachers and other partners.lum materials for a variety of industry sectors (see www. ConnectEd follows a series of steps in developing These tegrated curricula. The first step is curriculum mapping,materials include integrated units in the health sciences, which identifies key topics and standards across disciplinesbuilt around authentic industry problems and created in in the existing curriculum, helps to establish interdis-partnership with the National Consortium on Health ciplinary connections and shows how course materialScience Education, and integrated engineering units, can be combined into an authentic career-related themedesigned for Academies of Engineering (www.acade- (Clayton, Ho, & Hudis, 2007). On the basis of this work, In collaboration with the Education a career-related topic is selected, along with subtopics,Development Center, Inc. (EDC), ConnectEd is also learning outcomes and the specific content standards to bedeveloping full high school programs of study that include addressed in each subject.integrated curricula for the arts, media and entertainment Instructional designers then formulate an Essentialand law and justice fields. Integrated curriculum units will Question for the entire curriculum unit, along with Keybe developed for other industry sectors. Questions for individual subjects. An Essential Question At ConnectEd sites, integrated curricula are based on is one that drives the inquiry across disciplines, reflectsapplied learning theory research, address both academic a problem of interest and relevance to students, is open-and industry skill standards and connect academic con- ended with multiple possible solutions and challengestent with the real world through interesting, practical students to solve real-world problems. Subject-specificapplications. Teachers use curriculum integration for a Key Questions help students to answer the Essentialvariety of purposes: Question and are related to disciplinary content and the overall theme. • To engage students through challenging academic The curriculum sequence and map are then revised and technical content and by using active learning on the basis of the integrated unit. Teachers develop a approaches learning scenario, a “hook” enabling students to see the real-life application of the academic and technical con- • To build education and career planning skills tent they will master to answer the Essential Question. Student assessments, which include both traditional and10
  14. 14. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationperformance-based summative and formative assessments, engaged and motivated: “They develop a keener awarenessare created. Materials are checked for their alignment with of what skills they will need in the workplace as well asstandards, and connections are made with local partners more awareness of their options and preferences than dofrom industry, postsecondary education and other orga- students in traditional high schools” (p. 67).nizations. These partners play a variety of central roles, The evaluation also found that implementing an inte-including helping students with project work, assessing grated curriculum was a challenge for many ConnectEdtheir performance, providing feedback on the curriculum sites, despite extensive efforts to develop and use inte-and hosting site visits. grated projects. Although most staff appreciated the Finally, lesson plans are developed. Each lesson plan potential of the integrated curriculum, many lacked theaddresses one or more of the Key Questions and contrib- capacity and time to develop an integrated approach. It isutes to students’ ability to answer the Essential Question important to note, however, that the integrated curricu-as part of the culminating event. Lesson plans should lum is just one feature of ConnectEd sites and that otheralso result in products that will be part of the formative factors undoubtedly influenced these and other programassessment. The culminating event is an opportunity outcomes.for students to demonstrate their learning and presenttheir conclusions about the Essential Question. These The Relevance of the ConnectEdevents also give teachers and partners in the community a Model for Adult Educationchance to assess student learning relevant to the content Components of the ConnectEd model could be adaptedstandards that were the foundation of the integrated unit. for use in adult education. These include developingCulminating events can involve an individual student or a integrated curriculum units on career-related themes;group of students and may take a variety of forms, such as structuring an integrated curriculum around academicmaking a PowerPoint presentation, developing a Web site and technical content standards; engaging business andor demonstrating an activity to industry partners. industry partners to contribute to the curriculum and pro- One example of a fully developed integrated curriculum vide work-based learning opportunities; linking classroomunit is “Crime Scene Investigation,” a curriculum unit instruction to the workplace through work-based learningon forensic investigation for a health science pathway. opportunities, including virtual apprenticeships; incorpo-See rating an integrated curriculum into bridge programs andcurriculum/CSI_CA.pdf career pathways for adults; and producing a guide to de- veloping the integrated curriculum similar to the “PracticalOutcomes of ConnectEd’s Multiple Pathways Approach Manual” for adult education programs, with input fromAn early assessment of ConnectEd’s multiple pathways adult education program administrators and instructors.approach was recently completed (Farr, Bradby, Hartry, Relevant elements of the ConnectEd approach toSipes, Hall, & Tasoff, 2009). The evaluation report in- the integrated curriculum include identifying topics thatdicates that students enrolled in multiple pathways at connect across disciplines; formulating open-ended,ConnectEd sites were more likely to pass the California problem-based, essential questions that are of interestHigh School Exit Exam on their first attempt in 10th to students; developing a “hook” to illustrate the real-lifegrade than were high school students generally. With application of the content; creating performance-based as-regard to state standards tests, students at ConnectEd sessments and involving industry, postsecondary and othersites generally performed better than students statewide community partners throughout the process of developingin 2007–08 on the English/language arts 10 and 11 and and implementing the integrated unit.U.S. history tests; they performed less well on the mathand science tests. Attendance, promotion and graduationrates for these students were all above 90 percent. Thereport emphasizes that students at these sites were highly 11
  15. 15. National Institute for LiteracyFord Partnership for Advanced Studies (PAS) Partnerships are a significant component of Ford PAS.Ford PAS is an academically rigorous, interdisciplin- Business and postsecondary education partners serve onary curriculum and program that offers students the local Business/Education Advisory Councils, which pro-knowledge and skills for success in such areas as business, vide experiences, such as classroom speakers, mentoring,economics, engineering and technology. Developed by job-shadowing, and tours of worksites and college cam-Ford Motor Company Fund in partnership with EDC, puses, directly linked to students’ projects and learning.Ford PAS encourages high school students to pursue edu- These partners help students understand the connectionscation and build careers in these areas (see www.fordpas. among classroom learning, postsecondary education andorg/about/default.asp). careers. Their involvement is most effective when they take Ford PAS provides interdisciplinary learning experi- a leadership role in partnership with the school district.ences designed to develop students’ problem-solving, Ford PAS’s experience has shown that building commu-critical thinking, teamwork and communication skills. nity and employer support for curriculum integration isInstruction is organized in curriculum modules connecting essential. Principals and other administrators may comerigorous academic and technical content. Key components and go, but strong and broad community involvement andof Ford PAS include inquiry and project-based learning; buy-in can keep such programs going over time, as well asinterdisciplinary content; links between academic learning provide essential industry connections and work-basedand authentic applications; assessable learning goals tied learning national standards; multiple types of assessments; team- The Ford PAS curriculum is contained in 20 modules,work; integration of technology; and partnerships with organized by the following themes: Foundations in 21st-business, postsecondary education and other community Century Skills; Working Toward Sustainability; Gettingorganizations. Smart About Business; Manufacturing for Tomorrow; Ford PAS sites generally are high schools, but they also Data, Decisions, and Design; Living in a Global Economy;can be colleges, universities, and community, professional and Putting Math to Work. Module learning goals areand industry organizations. High school sites include aligned with national academic standards. Curriculumcomprehensive high schools, CTE programs, career acad- materials pose issues and problems, and students acquireemies and other small learning communities. Ford PAS information and skills through investigation and hands-onalso is being used in college bridge programs, including learning experiences. Modules incorporate Student andseveral in historically black colleges and universities. Ford Teacher Guides, including detailed lesson plans (FordPAS has also been used with adjudicated youth and in al- Motor Company Fund, 2008). Curriculum componentsternative schools, where students who have failed in other are available in print (at cost), multimedia (videos, simula-high schools take a full-day program of exclusively Ford tions and software) and online (at no cost to users whoPAS courses. There are more than 300 sites in 26 states. sign up and receive a password). The various sites implement the Ford PAS curriculum Modules incorporate a variety of assessments, includingin different ways. Comprehensive high schools may offer performance-based assessments, such as oral presentationsthe curriculum as electives or organize their full curricu- and real-world simulations. Each module also includeslum around the program by incorporating the modules teacher and peer assessments of products, self-assessmentsinto academics and electives. CTE programs may use of core skills, quizzes and tests. Many questions have morethe curriculum to address the 16 national career clusters, than one right answer, with Teacher Guides providingsince it is aligned to standards for the career clusters. possible answers.Community colleges may offer Ford PAS to high school Ford PAS professional development takes placestudents, providing college credit for those who complete through summer and academic-year institutes, an onlinethe courses, and to first-year college students taking intro- forum, and online courses and webinars. Ford PAS ex-ductory math, engineering and business courses. pects teachers to take part in professional development for the modules included in the Foundations in 21st-Century12
  16. 16. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical EducationSkills theme and recommends additional training for potential of the Ford PAS, while providing cautionary evi-teaching other modules. dence that implementation (specifically, teachers’ capacity Articulation with postsecondary education is an impor- to use the materials with fidelity to the principles behindtant part of Ford PAS. Through articulation agreements its design) and contextual factors make a significant differ-with local postsecondary institutions, some high school ence (Hwalek, 2006). Finally, the 2008 implementationstudents receive both high school and college credit for survey conducted as part of the evaluation provided fur-completing Ford PAS modules ther self-reported evidence of effects (Farr, Pedroso, & Sipes, 2009).Outcomes of Ford PASA multiyear evaluation of Ford PAS is under way to The Relevance of the Ford PASdetermine its impact on participants; components of the Model for Adult Educationprogram that do and do not work well; and how program Like ConnectEd, the Ford PAS has elements that couldinputs may vary across student populations. The evaluation be applied in adult education. These include implement-is examining context, including how teacher factors affect ing integrated curriculum modules on career-relatedoutcomes, and implementation, including models used, themes; building the curriculum on academic and ca-effects on classroom practices and barriers to implementa- reer cluster standards; linking classroom instruction totion. Evaluators also will look at program quality; support authentic applications; using a variety of assessments;provided by training, partnerships, program coordinators incorporating technology; partnering with business andand agencies; and outcomes for teachers and students. industry, postsecondary institutions and other commu- Some preliminary findings suggest the potential of nity partners; and providing professional developmentFord PAS to have a significant impact on teaching and face to face and online.learning across the country. An action-research study Some Ford PAS modules could be adapted for use withconducted at a Lancaster, Pa., charter school looked at adults, such as Careers, Companies, and Communities,student outcomes in terms of acquisition of knowledge which explores careers through a project focused on localand skills necessary for future success as well as motiva- employment opportunities and personal career interests.11tion to remain in school and pursue further education, Because the units are modular, adult education programsin addition to changes in teacher practice resulting from could consider integrating one or more Ford PAS mod-professional development. The research included class- ules as the curriculum and class schedule allow. The Fordroom observations, analysis of classroom artifacts, and PAS emphasis on problem-solving, critical thinking andstudent interviews and surveys. Analysis of the study data communication skills is consistent with many state adulthas not yet been completed, but the teacher-researcher education content standards. State or local programs couldfound preliminary evidence that students in the class crosswalk the national standards reflected in the moduleswere more motivated and achieved at higher levels, and with their own adult education standards.the teacher felt her own practice was more reflective and Like secondary CTE programs, adult education pro-evidence-driven. grams could use the Ford PAS curriculum to address A 2005 implementation study (CNA Corporation, some of the 16 national career clusters. They could con-2005) consisted of interviews with teachers and selected sider partnering with nearby high schools that are Fordstudents as well as classroom observations at a smallsample of schools. The results suggested that the program 11 In this module, students learn about the businesses and industries in their region, the range of positions employerswas realizing many of its initial goals and that even partial may offer and the changing nature of the workplace. They gainimplementation, such as short-duration summer work- information through interviews, classroom speakers, a worksiteshops, can affect students’ academic and career aspirations, visit and other resources. Throughout the module, students develop technology skills: working with databases, creating andas well as improve critical thinking, communication and delivering presentations and doing Internet research.teamwork skills. The results of a 2006 case study noted the 13
  17. 17. National Institute for LiteracyPAS sites and build on the schools’ existing relationships integrated projects and by publishing and disseminating awith business, postsecondary education and other com- collection of project descriptions statewide.12munity partners. Alternatively, programs could create Government also can help by reducing barriers, suchtheir own Business/Education Advisory Councils to help as eliminating requirements for “seat time,” which candevelop an integrated curriculum, provide work-based conflict with efforts to implement integrated curriculalearning opportunities and help students see the links (Bodilly et al., 1993). Further, governments should recog-among adult education, postsecondary education, employ- nize that legislative mandates on integration, while theyment and careers. can be helpful, do not necessarily create the elements that promote innovation in schools, such as vision, leadership,Supports and Challenges support, and financial and other resources (Stasz et al.,Like most other education reform efforts, curriculum 1995, 2004).integration requires a series of supports and enabling District and school staff need to share a vision forconditions to be successful. These include resources, such curriculum integration and a commitment to its imple-as well-designed curriculum materials, and other forms of mentation and success (Bodilly et al., 1993; Grubb etsupport—for example, policies supporting integration and al., 1991; Johnson et al., 2003). This shared vision mustthe commitment of school staff to the approach. be reflected in clearly defined core learning goals, such State, local, district and institutional policies and regu- as academic and CTE content standards. Support bylations can facilitate or impede curriculum integration. administrators is critical, and their leadership shouldStates can support curriculum integration by providing demonstrate commitment, energy, organizational skillstechnical assistance and guidance to districts and schools and the ability to be innovative, flexible and willing to takein developing models, training teachers to develop and risks (Bodilly et al., 1993; Grubb et al., 1991; Johnson etuse integrated instruction and sharing curricula through al., 2003). Commitment and leadership are often evidentclearinghouses (Brand, 2008). For example, in the late in an investment of resources (Johnson et al., 2003). This1990s, the Maryland State Department of Education includes providing sufficient funds for teacher prepara-provided statewide training for teams of secondary aca- tion and ongoing professional development, curriculumdemic and CTE teachers, school administrators, industry development, planning time, materials and other resourcespartners, postsecondary educators and others to develop (Bailey & Matasuzuka, 2003; Bodilly et al., 1993; Stasz etprojects integrating high-level academic and technical al., 2004).content. Teams then developed integrated curricula that Teacher buy-in can be a challenge when introducingincorporated the state academic and workplace readi- any new instructional approach. According to a study ofness standards and national industry skill standards into teacher participation in school improvement strategies,one of four career clusters (Health and Biosciences; the key predictors of teacher buy-in are training, supportManufacturing, Engineering Technology; Environmental, from program developers and other staff, administratorAgricultural and Natural Resources; Business buy-in and control over implementation in the class-Management and Finance). More experienced teams not room (Turnbull, 2002). In a study of eight schools withonly developed integrated units, they also aligned their integration programs, researchers found that additionalcurricula around an industry theme in one of the four clus- funding was needed for incentives and capacity buildingters. The goal of each project was to engage and motivate to avoid teacher burnout and their interpretation thatstudents to master more complex materials by connecting integration was not really considered important (Baileyconcepts to real-world applications. The state encour- & Matasuzuka, 2003). In addition, teacher championsaged local team efforts by providing grants to support the who show other teachers how curriculum integration can 12 For more information on this process, see Maryland State Department of Education (1999). Blended instruction: Integrating curriculum through projects and curriculum alignment. Baltimore: Author.14
  18. 18. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationimprove student outcomes can help make curriculum units. On the basis of this experience, researchers identi-integration an accepted ongoing instructional practice fied lessons learned for enhancing academics within CTE(Johnson et al., 2003). curricula, including securing the requisite time and effort Administrative mandates, however, can get in the to change the content to accommodate math problems;way and evoke teacher resistance (Stasz et al., 1995). incorporating academic and CTE expertise in curriculumAdministrators should empower teachers and facilitate, development; and providing professional developmentbut not force, integration (Finch et al., 1992, in Bodilly et for teachers to strengthen their math skills and learn toal., 1993). Moreover, pedagogical change does not have implement the integrated curriculum (Haimson, Stone, &to start from the top down; it can occur within and across Pearson, 2008).classrooms. A study of enhanced math in CTE curricula Well-developed instructional materials are a must, asfound that the communities of teachers created by the are projects and curricula based on academic, industrystudy made the critical decisions and were able to improve and workforce-readiness standards that combine CTEmeasured performance in mathematics where the perfor- and academic content and skills (Bailey, 1997). Like othermance gap among students was most pronounced (Stone education reforms, integrated curriculum efforts can sufferet al., 2008). if educational goals are not clearly defined. Goals can help Developing teachers’ capacity to implement integrated define how resources should be allocated, for example, andinstruction is essential. Sustained professional develop- set benchmarks for success (Hoachlander, 1999).ment to build teacher capacity should include time for Student engagement is also essential to developingteachers to collaborate, learn about industry practices (for an effective integrated curriculum. Identifying and usingacademic teachers), strengthen academic knowledge (for students’ interests in planning and implementing theCTE teachers), participate in regular training and observe integrated curriculum is key to their engagement in learn-one another. According to the ConnectEd model, profes- ing. Providing contexts, questions, materials and activitiessional development for teachers in multiple pathways relevant to them is necessary, but it takes time and effortprograms should: to integrate these into effective instruction (Hoachlander, 1999). • Build capacity among CTE teachers to recognize, Industry and postsecondary partners can help engage reinforce and supplement key academic concepts students by providing work-based learning experiences, and skills well suited to the industry that is the feedback to teachers on curriculum materials and feed- pathway’s organizing theme back to students on their performance. Business partners • Build capacity among academic teachers to apply should reinforce the importance of learning both technical their academic discipline to authentic problems and academic competencies, in addition to providing em- and projects in the industry ployment opportunities (Grubb et al., 1991). • Develop model teacher preparation programs for Curriculum Integration in Adult training new academic and CTE teachers who will Education: Some Promising Initiatives teach in multiple pathways (Hoachlander, 2007) Several approaches to curriculum development in adult To address the challenges of identifying or develop- education resemble the secondary-level curriculum in-ing high-quality curricula that integrate academic and tegration models explored in this paper. They includetechnical content, in a recent study, curriculum develop- I*CANS: Integrated Curriculum for Achieving Necessaryers and CTE and math experts enhanced the math and Skills, integrated theme-based (ITB) instruction, I-BESTexpanded the CTE content of the Automotive Youth (Integrating Basic Education Skills Training), project-Educational System and Ford PAS curricula. One goal based learning for adult English language learners,of this approach was to increase the use of the integrated workplace literacy and workforce basic skills education,curriculum without asking teachers to develop integrated and bridge programs. 15
  19. 19. National Institute for Literacy I*CANS: Integrated Curriculum for Achieving was able to teach skills within real-world contexts orNecessary Skills was developed and implemented in the themes related to employment or other relevant issuesstate of Washington by the Washington State Board students identified. This approach to developing andfor Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) in implementing theme-based learning relied heavily onthe 1990s to deliver basic skills instruction to youth and learners’ interests, reasons for participation and previousadults. With guidance from an advisory committee repre- knowledge. Once learners completed a unit, they joinedsenting business and industry, employment and training instructors in analyzing issues that emerged during theagencies, and basic skills providers, I*CANS was designed project and examining the processes used to addressto help young people and adults develop the skills neces- these issues (Dirkx & Prenger, 1997).sary for employment and their personal lives. The goals Integrated theme-based instruction (ITB) builds onof the project included creating an instructional system I*CANS and incorporates additional guidance on iden-for basic skills providers that combined ABE curriculum tifying themes and processes to fully integrate thematicwith the Job Training Partnership Act13 skills program— instruction with basic skills and process skills. The “Guidebasic competencies and essential workplace skills such for Planning and Implementing Instruction for Adults:as the American Society for Training and Development, A Theme-Based Approach,” developed by Dirkx andWorkplace Basics and SCANS; using contextualized Prenger (1997), outlines an approach to developing adultinstruction like ConnectEd and Ford PAS to increase stu- education curricula around themes integrating academicdent motivation and outcomes; and coordinating referrals knowledge and skills with life, technical and process skills,among employment and training and basic skills providers. such as problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork,I*CANS defined basic skills as learning to learn, thinking learning-to-learn and interpersonal skills. Based on inter-skills, personal management for the job, group effective- views with instructors experienced in ITB instruction andness, math, reading, writing and communication. I*CANS on classroom observations, the guide describes the ITBcurriculum developers recognized that engaging students process and offers guidelines for instructors interested inrequired creating authentic learning situations that were implementing ITB instruction.meaningful to students. Like the ConnectEd and Ford PAS models, ITB pro- grams engage students in active learning within relevant We also realized that each of us felt that learning, contexts, and instruction responds to learning styles just like life, was a complex weaving of skills and and incorporates cooperative learning and teamwork. experience—multi-modal, cross-disciplinary, and Instructors identify themes—interrelated clusters of integrated. The traditional divisions between lan- problems, issues or concerns—with input from students. guage and mathematics, science and art, politics and ITB instruction advocates incorporating contexts, tasks, communication are no longer appropriate; instead, materials and procedures from settings in which students we saw the need to show the connections that bind will be functioning. these fields of inquiry together (www.literacynet. The ITB approach is based on David Kolb’s theory of org/icans/chapter01/themes.html). experiential learning, in which adults move from concrete By encouraging students to become involved in experiences and reflective observation to more abstractdecisions about what they wanted to learn, I*CANS learning and then to action and experimentation with new knowledge (Kolb, Boyatzis, & Mainemelis, 1999). ITB13 The purpose of the Job Training Partnership Act ( JTPA) of students are actively involved in deciding what to learn1983, Public Law 97-300, was to improve occupational skills and and how they should learn it. ITB instruction does notemployment opportunities for disadvantaged adults and youth byproviding on-the-job training, job search assistance, basic skills emphasize rigorous academics, standards-based educa-education and work experience. The basic skills competencies tion and links to postsecondary education as much as theincluded in JTPA were gaining proficiency in elementary reading, ConnectEd and Ford PAS models. However, some pro-developing the ability to read effectively, learning to communicateideas in written English, gaining knowledge of fundamental ponents have noted the need to include rigorous academicsmathematics and understanding customary standards of measure.16
  20. 20. Integrating Curriculum: Lessons for Adult Education from Career and Technical Educationwithin integrated curricula to help students transition to (SBCTC, 2008) indicates that ABE/GED students inpostsecondary education or training (Dirkx, 2006). I-BEST and ESL students as a whole who combined basic I-BEST, sponsored by SBCTC, is a well-documented skills with other instruction showed larger gains than stu-approach to integrating workforce and basic skills train- dents who studied basic skills only. Most recently, Jenkinsing with the goal of accelerating the learning of low-skill and colleagues (2009) compared the educational outcomesadults. The program is based on research that suggests over a two-year tracking period of I-BEST students withcontextualized instruction can result in improved basic other basic skills students and found that I-BEST stu-skills for adults (Jenkins, Zeidenberg, & Kienzl, 2009). dents attained better outcomes than the other students,I-BEST offers a minimum of one year of college, including including students taking a workforce course that was notemployment opportunities, within a professional-technical an I-BEST course. Specifically, researchers found a highercertificate or associate’s degree program. Research shows probability that, compared with other basic skills students,that a combination of at least two semesters of college I-BEST students would:credit and a certificate or other credential is the “tipping • Continue into credit-bearing courseworkpoint” for improving earnings gains, meeting employerrequirements and increasing postsecondary achievement • Earn credits that count toward a college credential(Prince & Jenkins, 2005). I-BEST programs focus on occupations locally in • Persist into a second year of collegedemand. Like ConnectEd and other high school CTE in- • Earn an occupational certificatetegration models, I-BEST requires substantial coordinatedplanning among basic skills and workforce program admin- • Make point gains on basic skills tests (such asistrators and faculty and depends on partnerships among Comprehensive Adult Student Assessmentcampus academic and occupational departments, student Systems [CASAS]) (Jenkins et al., 2009, pp. 3, 26).services and local businesses. Students learn language, basic Researchers caution, however, that the analysis resultsskills and college study skills within the context of work- do not definitively prove a causal relationship between theforce education in an occupation of their choice. Teams of I-BEST program and the higher student outcomes; theadult basic education/English as a second language (ABE/ study may not account for other intervening factors, suchESL) instructors and professional-technical instructors as selection bias, participant motivation and other personalalign their curricula and co-teach an integrated course of characteristics. In future studies, researchers plan to exam-language/literacy and workforce skills. Instructor teams ine the student selection process further, identify solutionsshare responsibility for outcomes, examine data and make for selection bias and explore experimental-design researchchanges on the basis of student progress. In 2007, SBCTC on the program (Jenkins et al., 2009).launched the Student Achievement Initiative to help more Problem-based learning for adult English language learn-students reach the tipping point. The initiative provides a ers (ELLs) provides contextualized learning by presentingway to measure student outcomes and to identify incre- learners with problems to solve or products to developmental gains or “momentum points” that help students (Mathews-Aydinli, 2007; Moss & Van Duzer, 1998).approach the tipping point. The goal of problem-based learning in this context is to Preliminary research is promising. In a 2005 study, help adult ELLs develop problem-solving, language andI-BEST students earned five times more college credits literacy skills. In this approach, students learn the languageand were 15 times more likely to complete workforce by using it. Problem-based learning builds on participants’training than similar adult education students not par- previous experience and may involve them in planning andticipating in I-BEST (Washington State Board for choosing the focus of the project. Like CTE curriculumCommunity and Technical Colleges [SBCTC], 2005). integration methods, problem-based learning for adultA recent report that examines students enrolled in ELLs involves students in addressing open-ended, authen-basic skills and their transition to and success in college tic problems without set solutions. Rather than presenting 17