NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED540478
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb-9
Pages: 175
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 53
From Track to Field: Trends in Career and Technical Education across Three Decades
Dalton, Ben; Lauff, Erich; Henke, Robin; Alt, Martha; Li, Xiaojie
Online Submission
This report examines change and stability across two decades in the sociodemographic characteristics, educational experiences, and postsecondary outcomes of high school graduates with different occupational coursetaking patterns. Occupational coursetaking is part of the broader field of career and technical education (CTE), which also includes general labor market preparation and family and consumer sciences education courses. Historically, CTE and occupational studies provided low-achieving or academically disengaged students with courses that prepared them for immediate entry into the labor market. However, the expansion of new types of career education within magnet schools, career academies, and traditional high schools, and the increasingly accepted perspective that all students can benefit from training that improves their workplace skills, suggests that the older dichotomies between college-bound academic education and work-oriented occupational preparation are less salient. To examine whether this is the case, this report uses descriptive statistics to analyze changes across three high school cohorts--the graduating classes of 1982, 1992, and 2004--and compares their involvement in CTE and occupational courses, their academic coursetaking and achievement outcomes, and their initial postsecondary school and work experiences. Nationally representative data come from a series of secondary longitudinal studies conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics: High School and Beyond Study of 1980 Sophomores, the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, and the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002. Results show that CTE, as measured by occupational coursetaking, has moved from being a clearly delineated vocational track for graduates headed to jobs immediately after high school to an exploratory program for an increasing proportion of both academic and general curriculum graduates. This shift from "track to field" involves smaller groups of graduates intensively studying an occupational area and larger groups of graduates earning a few occupational credits. It also coincides with shifts toward more academic coursetaking, improved academic achievement in math, and more involvement in postsecondary education for those with more involvement in occupational preparation. The following are appended: (1) Technical Notes; (2) Standard Errors for Main Tables; (3) Fixed-effects Regression Analysis of Mathematics Achievement and Occupational Coursetaking: 1992 and 2004; and (4) CSSC Codes and Titles for Coursetaking Subjects and Areas. [This report was prepared as a background report for the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education (NACTE) and submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Under Secretary, Policy and Program Studies Service. The report was funded under ED Contract No. ED-04-CO-0030/0002: Analytic, Evaluation, and Policy Support for the Policy and Program Studies Service.] (Contains 76 tables, 6 figures, 2 exhibits, and 11 footnotes.)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Middle Schools; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States