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Examining the Impact of Career and Technical Education Course-Taking in Two States


Description: As the demand for quality career and technical education (CTE) programs grows, research is needed to support state and local education agencies in making decisions regarding the implementation and improvement of such program. Currently, while research examining CTE secondary and postsecondary outcomes exist, it is primarily composed of descriptive rather than causal studies. This impact study will examine the short- and long-term impacts associated with CTE course-taking in high school. Specifically, the study will compare the college and career outcomes of CTE and non-CTE students two and five years after high school.

Research Questions:

  1. What is the impact of being a CTE concentrator on high school graduation and 2-year and 5-year postsecondary enrollment and completion status?
  2. What is the impact of being a CTE concentrator on 2-year and 5-year employment and quarterly wage status?
  3. How do 2-year and 5-year education and employment outcomes vary by CTE career cluster?

Study Design: The study will use a quasi-experimental design to assess differences between the education and workforce outcomes of CTE and non-CTE students in Nebraska and South Dakota. These outcomes will be assessed two and five years after the students' expected high school graduation dates. For each state, CTE students from the 2012/13 through 2016/17 high school graduation cohorts will be matched to non-CTE students, using student demographic and grade 8 achievement data. In addition to comparing the education and workforce outcomes of CTE and non-CTE students, the study will describe how these outcomes might differ based the career focus area of each student's CTE program.

Projected Release Date: Spring 2021

Partnership or Research Alliance: College and Career Readiness Research Alliance

Related Products: Making an Impact

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
R. Marc Brodersen, Marzano Research
Douglas Gagnon, Marzano Research