An Examination of the New Mexico Early College High School Model and it’s Affect on the College and Career Readiness of Participants
This qualitative research project was an exploratory case study that included detailed, in-depth data collection from participants. The purpose of the study was to examine the components of the Early College High School (ECHS) model in New Mexico to determine how it has affected the college and career readiness of the participants, as perceived by program teachers, counselors, and graduates.
The theoretical framework that guided this study was an adaptation of the stakeholder theory. Data was collected through an online survey and personal interviews that helped derive the basis for emergent themes to answer the following questions: 1) what do teachers, counselors, and graduates report to be the primary components of the New Mexico Early College High School (NMECHS) model, 2) what are the perceptions of NMECHS’s teachers, counselors, and graduates regarding the impact of the NMECHS model on students’ college and career readiness, and 3) what are the perceptions of NMECHS’s teachers, counselors, and graduates regarding the impact of the NMECHS model on students’ academic achievement? The findings of the study emphasized the specific components of the NMECHS that promote growth of student responsibility as a learner and have a positive impact on their college and career readiness. Another finding of this study was the high premium participants placed on career exploration with an emphasis on graduation pathways designed to lead to internships, job shadowing, and associate degrees. Participants also reported that the NMECHS courses were more rigorous and complex than regular high school courses.