Research Critique

A Transformation Story
My critique is based on a case study that describes the transformation of how a small town vocational center serving part-time students became a full-time technical high school.   This specific case, written by M.A Sullivan, is entitled “Case Study: Sussex Technical High School, Georgetown, Delaware.”   In general, Sullivan uses a narrative style to present the restructuring and/or transformation efforts that were undertaken by this vocational-technical center between 1988 and 1991.   The essence of this study discusses how Sussex Technical High School used the frameworks provided by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education (NCRVE) and Southern Regional Educational Board (SREB) to design a new, comprehensive facility.   This facility sought to blend traditional college preparatory studies with quality vocational-technical education in order to become more aligned with SREB’s High Schools That Work (HSTW) sites.   An advisory committee or “Power Group”, as it was referred to in the study, which was composed of superintendents, key staff members, policy makers, and representatives of local businesses, industry and the community facilitated this restructuring under the prime directives of a combined and cumulative vision.   The vision was to foster an applied learning environment such that the students of Sussex Technical High School would be well prepared and assimilated to the enter either into the workforce or into college.   According to the study, the integrated curriculum of college preparatory courses and clustered vocational majors with hands-on learning resulted in substantial student gains in reading, mathematics, and science; more students enrolling in rigorous courses; a 95 percent attendance rate; dropout rate that was less than 2 percent; and competition for admission due to the increased interest in the integrated learning approach.

While this case study told an insightful story about the benefits of a...