|Citation:||MacIver, M. A., & Farley, E. (2005). Preparing urban students for health careers: A longitudinal study of a university-high school partnership. Urban Education, 40(2), 190-222.|
This case study describes the implementation and the impact on student outcomes of a high school-university partnership designed to prepare students for health careers. Results indicated that the partnership implemented many health career-related activities, but student outcomes did not improve as much as expected. Findings suggested that excellent math and science instruction is critical. In this case, partnership members had little or no input in school plans, and authors concluded that the partnership should be integrated into the school improvement process for more effective results. This partnership was studied through a longitudinal case study. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were used to evaluate the school-university partnership's implementation and outcomes. Data came from interviews (with administrators, partnership committee members, and university health professionals), focus groups (with teachers and students), observations, and surveys. Included are recommendations for practice. Partnerships should analyze baseline student data and perform a needs assessment; collaborate on a specific action plan designed to address specific needs; understand that work-based learning experiences and activities will not in themselves improve student outcomes; and understand that student outcomes are tied to improvement in curriculum, instruction, and professional development. Partners should establish a professional development program that is the central focus of the partnership and is embraced by all. In addition, considerations in curriculum planning include ensuring excellent math and science instruction, providing health career examples that are integrated into the curriculum (this includes providing attendant training for teachers), and providing overview courses in health careers and work-based experience to engage students' interest. In order for schools to provide career certification programs, schools must stay on top of local requirements. Though this in-depth case study provides insight into factors that impacted this partnership, it does not isolate and study the effectiveness of each intervention strategy. Additionally, similar partnerships may face comparable issues, but findings may not generalize to other contexts.
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