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Alternative career readiness measures for small and rural districts in Texas

Region:
Southwest
Description:

This study examined the extent to which Texas high school graduates, particularly graduates in small districts and rural districts, met college, career, and military readiness (CCMR) accountability standards. The study also examined whether graduates who did not meet CCMR accountability standards demonstrated career readiness via alternative career readiness options identified by the Texas Education Agency: career and technical education (CTE) completer, CTE concentrator, CTE explorer, CTE participant, and work-based learner. The study further explored whether graduates who did not meet CCMR accountability standards but who met the alternative career readiness options attained similar postsecondary college and career outcomes to graduates who met career readiness accountability standards.

The study used descriptive statistics to calculate the percentage of 2017–18 high school graduates in each of four mutually exclusive CCMR accountability standard categories: met a college ready accountability standard, met a career ready accountability standard, met a military ready accountability standard, and did not meet CCMR accountability standards. For graduates who did not meet CCMR accountability standards, the study team calculated the percentage of these graduates who demonstrated career readiness via alternative career readiness options. The study team used longitudinal data to compare postsecondary outcomes for graduates who met alternative career readiness options and graduates who met career readiness accountability standards.

The results indicate that more than 40 percent of graduates did not demonstrate college, career, or military readiness. No substantive differences were identified between small districts and large districts or between rural districts and major suburban districts in the percentages of graduates who met a career readiness accountability standard. Nearly all graduates who did not demonstrate CCMR met at least one alternative career readiness option. Among graduates who did not demonstrate CCMR, a higher percentage from small districts and rural districts were CTE concentrators, whereas the percentage from small districts and rural districts who were CTE completers or work-based learners was similar to large districts and major suburban districts. CTE completers and work-based learners had higher rates of college enrollment within one year of high school graduation than graduates who met a career readiness accountability standard. CTE completers had higher rates of credential attainment within one year of high school graduation or college persistence into the fall of the second year following high school graduation than graduates who met a career readiness accountability standard. Selecting one or more alternative career readiness options would allow additional pathways for graduates to demonstrate CCMR that are aligned to workforce outcomes. Other states with small or rural districts could consider similar standard-setting approaches to measuring college, career, and military readiness of high school graduates. Additional research is needed to better understand the implications of all CCMR accountability standards for graduates in small districts and rural districts as well as the implications for various student groups.

Publication Type:
Descriptive Study
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
February 2021