Holistic Framework for Student-Athletes' Education Case Study: Aspire Academy Khaled A. Hussein, PhD Aspire Academy, Qatar Jassim Al Jaber, MSc Aspire Academy, Qatar Sonia Masip, MSc Aspire Academy, Qatar Abstract Many academic institutions are concerned with the academic performance of their registered students or prospective joiners. Accordingly, organizations like SAT and ACT define college readiness standards and identify key skills required to continue postsecondary education (ACT,2004). For example, ACT frequently publishes cut-scores and benchmarks for grades 8-12 students, which define the minimum requirements for college readiness. Such efforts and standardization gained national recognition and consideration by policy makers, universities around the world, education reformers and other education stakeholders. In its Research Report Series, ACT summarized the findings of the last 50 years research on education and workplace readiness into four domains of education and career readiness. These four domains are: Core academic skills, Cross-cutting capabilities, Behavioral skills, and Education and career navigation skills (ACT, 2015). In this context, K-12 schools started focusing on quality education and national or international recognition or accreditation of their systems in order to guarantee meeting the required learning standards for their graduates, and accordingly develop better learning outcomes. It is important for SAs to get ready for future education and career development because they usually continue their education to the next level or switch to professional athletics. So, in this research, an integrated and holistic picture of education readiness is studied. This picture crystalizes the required knowledge and skills for Student-Athletes (SAs) to continue their future studies and career development. These knowledge and skills are derived based on the ACT framework (Mattern et al, 2014) for education and career readiness. Although there are many models and frameworks for education readiness and success such as Campbell's (1990) eight-factor model and Oswald et al (2004) twelve-factor model of academic performance, ACT's framework makes high sense for studying education and career success for SAs because of its expansion of readiness to include readiness to proceed to the next level education and readiness to enter into the workforce. In this research, a holistic framework is developed based on the findings from the readiness framework defined by ACT. It includes a group of constructs that ensure readiness for further education or career development. These constructs are classified into two groups: the first for education readiness and the second for career readiness with a focus on sports-related career paths. Both groups are developed in order to satisfy the SAs' learning needs, develop their cognitive abilities, respond to their learning styles, develop a responsive educational system that fits their blended learning modalities, enhance their characters, foster the required cross-cutting capabilities and behavioral skills, assess their performance through a successful and meaningful evaluation system, and align the taught standards with recognized national and international curriculum. Objectives: To determine the core academic skills required for SAs.To determine the cross-cutting capabilities for SAs.To determine the behavioral skills that are required for SAs.To determine the education and career navigation skills required for SAs. About the case study institution Aspire Academy is located in Doha, Qatar. Since established in 2004, Aspire Academy»s main objective is to strengthen the “sporting while educating” culture in Qatar, as well as internationally, as exemplified in their «Aspire Football Dreams» project. Aspire Academy provides education to student-athletes (SAs) who combine education and sport in their daily timetable. Aspire Academy offers education for grade 7 to grade 12 SAs who are nominated based on their talent and sporting skills. SAs attend the academy between 6 am to 7 pm every weekday for academic and sports education. Some SAs attend grades 7 to 9 in the academy then move to some sports clubs around Europe to train the whole year as professional athletes, which makes it more challenging to facilitate learning for them. The total number of currently enrolled full-time student-athletes is 289. A total of 49 athletes have joined European sports clubs including Real Madrid, Cultural and Villa-Real in Spain, and Eupen in Belgium. The number of Olympic sports that Aspire Academy provides, in a developmental support to Qatar sports federations, is eight including Football, Fencing, Golf, Athletics, Shooting, Swimming, Tennis and Squash. SAs face the challenge of not being fully engaged in their learning due to time limitations and effort expectancy. Oblinger and Oblinger (2006) point to a different kind of student: A non-traditional student who simultaneously works and studies. This kind of student is increasingly part of Aspire's educational landscape.


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