Naomi Castro


The purpose of this sequential, explanatory, mixed methods study was (a) to investigate the degree to which Career Technical Education (CTE) students in selected California Community College (CCC) believe that the core components of learning communities (LCs) designed for traditional, academic track students exist in LCs designed for CTE students; (b) to determine which of the core components, if any, are perceived by students as most beneficial, for CTE LCs; and (c) to explore any additional components that students might believe to be essential for LCs designed for CTE students. In the first phase of this study, the Online Survey of Students' Experiences of Learning in a LC, developed and implemented by the National Resource Center for Learning Communities, was administered to a cross section of 75 current CTE LC students from three California Community Colleges to determine the perception of implementation of the core components of a LC. In phase two, survey respondents were able to opt-in to a focus group or interview designed to determine which of the core components, if any, were most beneficial and to explore their experience in the LC to emerge any critical components not included in the survey instrument. Thirty-five survey respondents participated in six focus groups on campus. The findings of this study support the following conclusions. Study participants in this study found all four components of a successful learning community integrated curriculum, innovative instruction, engagement and supportive services, present in their learning community designed for Career and Technical Education. Students found supportive services to be the most important component in their learning community, followed by engagement. Supportive services are perceived by students to be key to successful participation, retention and success of survey participants. Specific personnel, peer mentors, teaching assistants, coordinators, counselors and instructors, represent the greatest source of support and means for engagement connecting students to the larger campus community as well as to supportive services. A career focus in the learning community helps students persist and succeed in their learning community and serves as a point of engagement.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Career education -- California -- Evaluation; Technical education -- California -- Evaluation; Community college students -- California -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;