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ED.D Dissertations

Linked Learning is a transformation of California high schools that integrates academics with career-based learning and authentic real-world workplace experiences. The dissertations examined Linked Learning reforms affecting African American youth in Long Beach, urban youth in the San Francisco East Bay region, counseling, and high school opportunities and outcomes among special needs students.

The dissertations include the following:

  • Teachers’ and Administrators’ Perceptions of Effective Pathway Charter Schools.  

Chen, Shani
California State University Northridge.
December 2017

In a reform effort over the past decade, hundreds of schools across California have adopted the Linked Learning approach by building small learning communities in high schools to implement multiple pathway programs in unified school districts. But little is known how effectively Linked Learning is performing in charter schools, the fastest growing sector in education today. This qualitative case study investigated the intersection of a pathway program model in a southern California charter school. Teacher and administrator interviews, classroom observations, and document analysis were used to provide insight into some of the practical tools and learning approaches used to sustain an effective pathway charter school. 

  • Marginalized Student Access to Technology Education.  (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, East Bay, Hayward CA.

Wanda M. Kurtcu
California State University, East Bay
May 2017

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how a teacher can disrupt an established curriculum that continues the cycle of inequity of access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum by students in alternative education. Marginalized students in alternative education programs use this equipment for little else than remedial programs and credit recovery. This level of inequity further widens in alternative education programs and affects the achievement of marginalized students in credit recovery or alternative education classes instead of participation technology classes.

  • Breaking the Code: Increasing the Number of African American and Latino Students in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Careers.

Yvonne White
California State University, East Bay.
December 2017

In process of publication.

  • Latinos in Linked Learning and California Partnership Academies: Sources of Self-Efficacy and Social Capital

Daniel Ledesma
Fresno State University
December 2016

This purpose of this mixed-methods study was to describe the social relationships and career experiences of Latino students who were enrolled in Linked Learning or Career Partnership Academies (CPA) by investigating sources of support such as the role of teacher and parents on career development and examining how internships and participation influenced their self-efficacy.  The study found that sources of social capital and self-efficacy vary depending on the location of the program and the selection of the career academy.

  • Latina/o English Language Learner Student Experiences and Opportunities in Linked Learning Environments

Yvette Habrun
California State University Long Beach
December 2016

The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the lived experiences of English language learner Latina/o high school students in a Linked Learning pathway in Southern California.  The findings from this case study indicated Latina/o ELLs felt supported despite barriers experienced with English comprehension early on in high school.  Students and staff members echoed the sentiment of a familiar environment between staff and students, and students felt their participation in Linked Learning had assisted them in being prepared for postsecondary options for college and career opportunities.

  • A Case Study of Common Core Implementation in a Linked Learning Environment

Erin Broun Biolchino
California State University Long Beach
May 2016

The purpose of this case study is to examine the intersection between Linked Learning and the Common Core State Standards.  The SRI fifth-year report sheds light on the need for Linked Learning districts and schools to carefully design their professional development for teachers so that a cohesive message that integrates both Linked Learning and Common Core is communicated.

  • Equity and Impact of Linked Learning for Students with Disabilities: An Investigation of Implementation Fidelity

Jocelyn D. Hively
Fresno State University
May 2016

The purpose of this study was to understand the impact of Linked Learning education reform on transition implementation fidelity and on students' non-academic outcomes.  The researcher compared the transition implementation fidelity of special education teachers working in Linked Learning high schools with that of their counterparts in Non-Linked Learning high schools.  Findings suggest a positive impact of Linked Learning in specific areas such as self-determination training and work experiences for students as well as professional development for special education teachers. 

  • The Impact of Linked Learning in Preparing English Language Learners to Become College and Career Ready for Post-Secondary Opportunities

Cecilia Mendoza
California State University, East Bay
May 2016

This study identified the impact of federal and state reform mandates on underserved students, specifically Long-Term English Language Learners (LT-ELL). In addition, this research study investigated if ELL students are accessing Linked Learning College and Career Readiness Pathways to achieve the goals of the Common Core State Standards of being college and career ready. In the past, LT-ELL students have been unsuccessful in accessing quality core and technical curriculum that is college and career specific and provides the outcomes for successful transition to postsecondary education and/or career options. This study found that LT-ELL students continue to experience exclusionary practices and lack of access to Linked Learning/California Partnership Academy Pathways.

  • Linked Learning as a High School Transformation Strategy: Organizational Structures and Leadership Behaviors That Support Lasting Change

Elizabeth Rocio Weiss
San Diego State University
November 2015

The purpose of the study was to identify the leadership actions district leaders took to initiate and sustain a high school reform agenda that included a specific focus on preparing students for college and 21st century careers. Findings revealed that a large-scale high school reform initiative, such as the systemic implementation of Linked Learning as a strategy for change, is successful when district leaders, through the practice of transformational leadership, create the conditions for school leaders and teachers to transform the way high school students experience learning.

  • Examining Students with Disabilities in a Linked Learning Pathway

Renee L. Polk
California State University Dominguez Hills
August 2015

This study focused on examining the test scores of students with disabilities in Linked Learning Pathways to see whether participating in an academic sequence combined with career technical education leads to better college preparedness. This research found limited but promising evidence that Linked Learning.

  • A Comparative Study of the Impact of Linked Learning on Three Urban High Schools

Wendell Carlton Greer Jr.
California State University East Bay
June 2015

This study examines the impact of Linked Learning's Pathways on the three variables:

      a) Student engagement;

      b) School success; 

      c) Academic achievement of students in the three comprehensive high schools in an urban school district in the Bay Area. This study found evidence that pathways may be more likely to engage students so that they are motivated to remain in school.

  • The Linked Leader: Principal Perception of Leadership in Linked Learning Pathways

Chandalee Wood
California State University Long Beach
May 2015

This study attempted to inform school districts, current and future LLP principals, and community partners of the perceptions of current high school principals' on school site leadership roles, responsibilities, and the impact of implementing and sustaining LLP on their leadership approach.  While approaching the transformation and sustainability through this lens, the principals indicated three main roles critical to CLLP success: community-bridge, risk-taker, and supporter.

  • Perspectives of Career and Technical Education Pathways and Linked Learning Outcomes for High School Graduates

Brian Thomas Josten
San Diego State University
April 2015

The specific objective of this research was to determine student perceptions of how core academic programs that are linked with core academic curriculum and real world experiences such as Linked Learning contributed to engagement in high school and readiness for postsecondary life.  The research found that students enroll in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway were more prepare for a potential career than for any social reasons.  Additionally, CTE pathways helped student engagement and comprehension of other core academic subjects, such as English and mathematics.

  • Reforming Teacher Preparation for Twenty-First Century Students: A Mixed Methods Study

Sheila Maureen Krotz
San Diego State University
March 2015

The question that guided this research is whether or not preservice teachers who obtain a credential through the Linked Learning Lens Single Subject Credential Program are better prepared to meet the needs of the twenty-first century student.  Findings showed that preservice teachers candidates prepared in Linked Learning Lens Credential Program appear to have the skills and knowledge to teach in a Linked Learning environment, and they are also better prepared to bring twenty-first century skills into their classrooms, preparing students for the world of college and career.

  • Linked Learning and African American Student Engagement: A Case Study

Felicia Anderson
California State University Long Beach
May 2014

In her dissertation Dr. Anderson studied the impact of Linked Learning pathways on African American students’ level of engagement in school.  This study found five themes which weaved a picture of a supportive environment that promotes greater student satisfaction and enhances engagement.

  • The Role of Counselor in a Linked Learning Environment

Roberta Clarke
California State University Long Beach
May 2014

In her dissertation, Dr. Clarke studied the role of the school counselor in Linked Learning pathways.  This interview study found that counselors in a Linked Learning environment hold and collectively maintain a culture of high expectations and support for all students by serving as advocates, utilizing school guidance curriculum, and providing direct services.

  • How Choice Model Affects Teacher Collaboration within the Linked Learning College Readiness Initiative

Anne Shin
California State University East Bay
June 2013

The purpose of this study is to understand the impact of choice participation as it is related to teacher collaboration within the Linked Learning College Readiness Reform Initiative.  The results show that the factors of personal benefit, access to adequate information, and relationships layered with collegial influences, peer pressure, and political pressures were influences of their decision making.