Term of Award

Summer 2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


College of Education

Committee Chair

Meca Williams-Johnson

Committee Member 1

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 2

Sabrina Ross

Committee Member 3

Lucy Bush

Committee Member 3 Email


Non-Voting Committee Member

Lucy Bush


In Georgia, high school graduates are expected to be college and career ready, however due to recent educational legislative changes the focus has been placed on being college ready. These modifications have led to a low number of graduates completing a Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway as well as a low number of graduates passing their CTE End-of-Pathway assessments and earning industry credentials. To assist in determining the factors that have led to the devaluation of CTE by Georgia graduates, a critical qualitative inquiry study was conducted on a sample of 13 graduates from Wonderwood High School, in South Heights, Georgia. The study aimed to identify how the graduates of Wonderwood would both describe the perceived value of completing a CTE pathway as well as how they view CTE curriculum objectives and their relationship to their post-secondary plan(s). In-depth phone interviews were conducted, transcribed, coded and the data analyzed to determine overarching themes. The first theme developed involved the graduates’ awareness of CTE curriculum’s value and purpose, of which 100% of the graduates stated that CTE adds value to a student’s education and allows for career exploration. However, the results indicated that they did not have this opinion until after they had graduated and entered a post-secondary institution. The participants acknowledged skills attainment, Advanced Placement (AP) versus Dual Enrollment (DE), Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) school evaluation measures and misinformation from Non-CTE faculty and staff as the reasons they saw a lack of CTE value while attending Wonderwood. The second theme comprised of the cultural/societal influences impacting the graduates’ participation in CTE of which a lack of student voice, power dynamics, social reproduction and the idea of hidden curricula were indicated as leading to Non-CTE completers feelings towards how CTE impacts post-secondary readiness. To assist in alleviating the devaluation of CTE in Georgia, the secondary education process must entail active participation from all stakeholders to include teachers, parents, administrators, counselors, and students with the goal of determining the educational path required for a student to become successful in their post-secondary plan.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material