CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven Terrell

Committee Member

Maxine S Cohen

Committee Member

Timothy J Ellis


Being proficient with technology is becoming an essential part of a high school education, and some high schools now require computer skills as a prerequisite to graduation. School districts that recognize the relevancy and value of Information Technology (IT) courses to student careers and education can provide insight into effective teaching. Although most high school technology teachers have professional teaching certifications from passing prescribed subject area tests, many of these IT teachers do not possess IT industry certifications. IT industry certifications are official recognitions that verify competence through an array of requirements including education, experience, and examinations.

The goal of this study was to quantify the effect of student achievement by comparing student posttest scores of teachers holding relevant IT industry certifications with those of teachers not possessing IT industry certifications. To accomplish the goal, nine North Carolina school districts furnished student posttest data on teachers who taught the Computer Applications I course. In addition, 51 of 80 Computer Applications I teachers completed an online survey that solicited information on IT industry certifications (e.g., Microsoft Office and IC3 Certifications). The posttest data and survey information was compared and analyzed using parametric inferential statistics.

The study demonstrated that IT certified teachers had a significant, positive effect on the level of achievement of Computer Applications I high school students. Thus, high school teachers who possess IT industry certifications may be better equipped to instruct complex technology courses to their students. Based on the findings of this study, school districts should institute professional development programs that promote relevant IT industry certification to their Computer Applications I teachers. Finally, IT teachers possessing relevant IT certification could advocate the importance of IT industry certifications to their students in an effort to elevate the perceived value of technology courses.

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