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IES Grant

Title: Postsecondary and Labor Market Effects of Career and Technical Education in Baltimore City Public Schools
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Stein, Marc Awardee: Johns Hopkins University
Program: Career and Technical Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (07/01/2021 – 06/30/2023) Award Amount: $498,528
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A210049

Co-Principal Investigators: Plasman, Jay; Durham, Rachel

Purpose: There is a growing body of empirical research into the efficacy of career and technical education (CTE) participation in high school in the United States. However, little of that work can be identified as truly causal, nor has much of this prior work empirically explored the theoretical mechanisms of change linked with CTE participation. This project used a unique selection process into CTE centers within a large school district, linked with longitudinal state data, to provide strong evidence on the benefits and mechanisms of CTE participation on secondary education, postsecondary education, and labor market outcomes.

Project Activities: The research team explored specific mechanisms theorized to impact the postsecondary academic and labor market outcomes of students who progress through career and technical education (CTE) programs of study in the Baltimore City Public School (BCPS) system. The research team partnered with a location-based research-practice partnership (the Baltimore Education Research Consortium) and a state longitudinal data system (the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center) to develop an analytic dataset for the project through the integration of existing longitudinal data archives. The researchers used a fuzzy regression discontinuity design where enrollment offers to CTE centers were used as an instrument for actual enrollment in a two-stage least squares framework to examine the effects of CTE participation on high school and postsecondary education and labor market outcomes for Baltimore City youth.

Key Outcomes: Key findings from this project will be shared once they are published in a publicly accessible format.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project took place in a large urban school district in the state of Maryland.

Sample: The final analytic samples included approximately 15,000 rising 9th-grade students across 6 cohorts who clearly signaled an interest in CTE by applying for admission to at least 1 program in 1 of the CTE centers in the high school choice ranking process. These students were representative of the school district in which they were enrolled in terms of their demographics and special program participation.

Factor: The research team examined the effects of selective admissions (admissions offers based on academic performance criteria) CTE centers (schools in which all students are enrolled in a CTE course of study) on student secondary, postsecondary academic and labor force outcomes.

Research Design and Methods: The research team leveraged the centralized enrollment assignment process used by the school district to make enrollment offers as part of its universal high school choice process. Students who choose programs in selective CTE Centers are prioritized by a composite score based on middle school academics and are offered enrollment until all seats in the program are filled. This process creates a discontinuity in admissions offers at specific points in the composite score distribution. The project leveraged these admissions cutoffs to implement a fuzzy regression discontinuity design where enrollment offers were used as an instrument for actual enrollment in a two-stage least squares framework.

Control Condition: Although this was an exploration study, students who were offered enrollment in a selective admissions CTE center were compared to students who were offered enrollment in either non-selective or highly selective academic focused high schools.

Key Measures: The key measures included on-time graduation from high school, enrollment in a postsecondary educational institution within 6 months of graduation from high school, labor market participation within 6 months of high school graduation, labor market persistence measured as continuous employment for the first 4 consecutive quarters post high school graduation and in the 4 consecutive quarters of year 5 post high school graduation, and wages earned over the first 4 consecutive quarters post high school graduation and in year 5 post high school graduation. Measures on labor market participation and wages come from the Maryland Longitudinal Data System. All other measures come from the data archive of the Baltimore Education Research Consortium.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team employed exploratory and descriptive analyses to examine the types of students that apply to a CTE center. The researchers also leveraged the centralized selective admissions process in a fuzzy regression discontinuity framework. Analyses included parametric and nonparametric estimation of intent-to-treat and local average treatment effects using offers of admission as an instrument for CTE program participation through enrollment in a CTE center.

Publications and Products

ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.