Tech Prep Essay

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Tech Prep

Although the development and implementation of tech prep education programs have been in process since the initiation of the Carl D. Perkins Act Amendments of 1990, misconceptions about tech prep education still exist. As defined in provisions authorizing Perkins funds for tech prep, a tech prep education program is a combined secondary and postsecondary program that-

leads to an associate degree or two-year certificate; provides technical preparation in at least one field of engineering technology; applied science, mechanical, industrial, or practical art or trade; or agriculture, health or business; builds student competence in mathematics, science, and communications (including applied academics) through a
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Although the integration of academic and vocational education offers one strategy for developing the academic and technical competence of students, it does not constitute tech prep. Tech prep requires not only new courses and a sequenced core curriculum, but courses that take into account the learning styles of the majority of students, incorporating concepts like that of contextual learning. According to Hull (1993), contextual learning "occurs only when students process new information or knowledge in such a way that it makes sense to them in their frame of reference (their own inner world of memory, experience, and response)" (p. 41). Thus, the applied academics approach to learning, which involves the teaching of solid academic content by means of hands-on and vocational applications, follows the contextual learning concept in that it provides for learning in the context of life experiences-building on what the students already know and applying learning in the context of how the knowledge/information can be used in the context of exploration, discovery, and invention (ibid.). One of the goals of applied academic curriculum is that it should enable students to transfer knowledge from academic content to vocational applications and from school to the workplace.

To ensure a curriculum that will prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary for work in a technologically

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