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ERIC Number: ED574506
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Pages: 260
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 155
Rigorous Tests of Student Outcomes in CTE Programs of Study: Final Report
Castellano, Marisa; Sundell, Kirsten E.; Overman, Laura T.; Richardson, George B.; Stone, James R., III
National Research Center for Career and Technical Education
This study was designed to investigate the relationship between participation in federally mandated college and career-preparatory programs--known as programs of study (POS)--and high school achievement outcomes. POS are an organized approach to college and career readiness that offer an aligned sequence of courses spanning secondary and postsecondary education, blending standards-based academic and technical content, allowing students to earn postsecondary credit while in high school, and leading to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level or an associate or baccalaureate degree. The sample includes 6,638 students from three urban districts in three different states. This study employed a multi-method, longitudinal, quasi-experimental design. Qualitative measures included adherence to the legislatively mandated components of POS. In the quantitative portion of the study, we employed two different statistical approaches to the data in each district. First, we estimated the effects of enrolling in POS and the number of career and technical education (CTE) credits earned on GPA and graduation using an instrumental variable approach. In addition, we also addressed specific policy questions about completing a POS compared to other high school trajectories through posthoc multiple regression analyses. The outcomes show that in the first district, enrollment in POS schools caused more students to graduate by increasing the number of CTE credits they earned. In all three districts, earning more CTE credits was associated with graduation, although the results for the other two districts did not support the type of causal inferences we were able to draw from the first district's outcomes. We also found that POS students earned significantly more STEM or AP credits than comparison students, depending on the implementation context. POS students outperformed other students on technical measures at little to no cost to overall academic achievement. Across all districts, participation in programs associated with accruing college credits in high school (e.g., dual enrollment) was low, as was the incidence of earning an industry-recognized credential, two key elements of POS. We lacked the research funding to examine whether POS led to postsecondary degrees; however, senior exit survey results indicated that similar numbers of intervention and comparison students planned to attend a four-year college full time. This suggests that POS can be offered to high school students with no harm to their college aspirations or preparation. In addition, significantly more POS students indicated that their college studies would be related to their high school program, suggesting that students who enroll in a POS often continue their education in the same program area, and reap the benefits of having begun that preparation while still in high school. Our primary recommendation is for districts to seek ways to increase the number of CTE credits earned by high school students, because in all three districts, earning more CTE credits was associated with graduation. Other recommendations include re-examining dual enrollment programs so that more students participate, encouraging more people from industry backgrounds to become high school teachers, and improving data collection so that the efficacy of interventions may be better evaluated. All of these recommendations should improve POS, secondary school outcomes, and preparation of our nation's youth for postsecondary education and careers. The following are appended: (1) Quantitative Technical Appendix; (2) Qualitative Technical Appendix; (3) Classroom Observation Form; and (4) Senior Exit Survey Respondent Characteristics.
National Research Center for Career and Technical Education. University of Louisville, College of Education and Human Development, Louisville, KY 40292. Tel: 877-372-2283; Tel: 502-852-4727; Fax: 502-852-3308; e-mail: Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Vocational and Adult Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education
Grant or Contract Numbers: VO51A070003