Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Victor Hernandez-Gantes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Johanna Lasonen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony Tan, Ed.D.


career academy, integrated curriculum, propensity score matching, STEM


A quasi-experimental study tested an integrated curriculum design in two career academies with engineering themes at the middle school level. Teachers in the engineering career academies, using the National Standards of Practice, implemented cross curricular units to middle school student cohorts. Participant cohorts ranged in sample sizes (n = 79, 155, 237, and 232) during the four years of analysis. Constructivism was used as a framework for the study and supported by integrated curriculum units. This study examined middle school students’ performance in reading and mathematics on state assessments of students in the engineering career academies to students not enrolled in the engineering career academies. The study used propensity score matching (PSM) to match the engineering academy students (treatment group) with like students not enrolled in career and technical education courses. The treatment group performance in reading and mathematics on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) was analyzed over the three years of middle school, grades 6 – 8. Student performance data were compared using a t-test to the PSM matched group for each year. The results showed that the treatment group did not perform significantly better over the first two years in either reading or mathematics, but did performed significantly better in the third year in mathematics only and significantly better in reading and mathematics in the fourth year of engineering career academy implementation. In all cases, the effect size was small. This study is significant because it addressed a gap in the literature on career academy implementation at the middle school level as well as academic and CTE curriculum integration’s impact on student performance as measured by a standardized state assessment.