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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2022132 Career and Technical Education Credentials in Virginia High Schools: Trends in Attainment and College Enrollment Outcomes
In Virginia, there has been a long-term effort to increase the number of graduates who earn career and technical education (CTE) credentials. These CTE credentials are intended to provide high school graduates with additional preparation for college and careers. In 2013, the Virginia Board of Education added a CTE credential requirement to the Standard diploma for students who entered grade 9 for the first time in 2013 or later. Graduates can complete this requirement by passing an approved assessment and do not have to take any CTE courses.

At the request of Virginia CTE leaders, the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia conducted a descriptive study of attainment rates of CTE credentials, completion rates of CTE programs of study, and college enrollment rates for Standard diploma graduates from 2011 to 2017, the years before and after the policy change. Education stakeholders in Virginia and elsewhere can use the results of this study to inform their CTE policies.

From 2011 to 2017, the percentage of Standard diploma graduates who earned at least one CTE credential increased from 23 percent to 91 percent. A similar increase occurred among Advanced Studies diploma graduates, even though the CTE credential requirement applied only to Standard diploma graduates. The attainment rates of CTE credentials increased for all groups of Standard diploma graduates, including groups based on demographic characteristics, federal program participation, and academic achievement. While the percentages of Standard diploma graduates who earned a CTE credential increased consistently from 2011 to 2017, their college enrollment rates dropped. The percentage of Standard diploma graduates completing a CTE program of study, which requires taking CTE courses that are not required to earn a credential but may still be helpful for later student outcomes, decreased in 2016 and 2017.

The study findings suggest a need to examine workforce outcomes for Standard diploma graduates to fully understand whether this policy is meeting its intended goals. In addition, the findings suggest a need to consider other methods to address outcomes for Virginia’s Standard diploma graduates, such as support for implementing practices with rigorous evidence of effectiveness for improving college and career outcomes.
12/27/2021
WWC 2022001 Project QUEST Intervention Report
Project QUEST provides comprehensive support services to help students complete occupational training programs at local community colleges and professional training institutes, pass certification exams, and obtain well-paying jobs in targeted sectors of the local economy. Based on the research, the WWC found that Project QUEST has positive effects on industry-recognized credential, certificate, or license completion; potentially positive effects on credit accumulation; no discernable effects on short-term employment, short-term earnings, medium-term employment, medium-term earnings, and long-term earnings; and potentially negative effects on postsecondary degree attainment.
11/18/2021
WWC 2022002 Year Up Intervention Report
Year Up is an intervention that provides six months of occupational and technical training in the information technology and financial service sectors followed by six-month internships, together with other supports that ensure students have strong connections to employment. Based on the research, the WWC found that Year Up has positive effects on short-term earnings and no discernable effects on short-term employment, medium-term earnings, industry-recognized credential, certificate, or license completion, or medium-term employment.
11/18/2021
REL 2021090 Indiana and Minnesota Students Who Focused on Career and Technical Education in High School: Who Are They, and What Are Their College and Employment Outcomes?
In Indiana and Minnesota the state education agency, state higher education agency, and the state workforce agency have collaborated to develop career and technical education courses intended to improve high school students' college and career readiness. These agencies partnered with the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest to examine whether high school graduates in each state who completed a large number of career and technical education courses in a single career-oriented program of study (concentrators) had different college and workforce outcomes from graduates who completed fewer (samplers) or no career and technical education courses (nonparticipants). The study found that in the 2012/13–2017/18 graduation cohorts, male graduates were more likely to be concentrators than female graduates, and graduates who received special education services were more likely to be concentrators than those who did not receive services. Graduates who were not proficient in reading in grade 8 also were more likely to become concentrators than those who were proficient. Graduates who attended urban and suburban schools were more likely than students who attended town and rural schools to be nonparticipants. Concentrators were less likely than samplers and nonparticipants with similar characteristics to enroll in college, but the differences reflect mainly enrollment in four-year colleges. Concentrators were more likely to enroll in two-year colleges. Concentrators also were less likely than similar samplers and nonparticipants to complete a bachelor's degree within four to six years. Finally, compared with similar samplers and nonparticipants, concentrators were employed at higher rates in the first five years after high school and had higher earnings.
6/8/2021
REL 2021087 The Impact of Career and Technical Education on Postsecondary Outcomes in Nebraska and South Dakota
Education leaders in Nebraska and South Dakota partnered with the Regional Educational Laboratory Central to examine how completing a sequence of career and technical education (CTE) courses in high school affects students' rates of on-time high school graduation and their rates of postsecondary education enrollment and completion within two and five years. The study found that CTE concentrators (students who complete a sequence of CTE courses aligned to a specific career field such as manufacturing or education and training) were 7 percentage points more likely than non-CTE concentrators to graduate from high school on time and 10 percentage points more likely to enroll in any type of postsecondary education within two years of their expected high school graduation year. The study also found that CTE concentrators were 3 percentage points more likely than non-CTE concentrators to earn a postsecondary award, such as a professional certificate, diploma, or associate’s or bachelor’s degree, within five years of their expected high school graduation year. CTE concentrators were 4 percentage points more likely than non-CTE concentrators to obtain up to an associate’s degree as their highest postsecondary award within five years of their expected high school graduation year but 1 percentage point less likely to obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher.
5/11/2021
WWC 2021007 Designing and Delivering Career Pathways at Community Colleges
The What Works ClearinghouseTM (WWC) developed this practice guide in partnership with a panel of experts including researchers who are at the forefront of career and technical education research and practitioners with experience in implementing career pathways interventions. The panel distilled recent, rigorous career pathways intervention research into five practice recommendations for administrators, staff, and faculty at community colleges to help guide the development and delivery of career pathways or career and technical education initiatives.
3/23/2021
REL 2021071 Do College and Career Readiness and Early College Success in Indiana Vary Depending on Whether Students Attend Public, Charter, or Private Voucher High Schools?
Indiana has a robust portfolio of high school options, including traditional public schools, charter schools, and private voucher schools that accept Indiana Choice Scholarships. This study identified the type of high school enrollment among students enrolled in grade 9 in 2010/11–2013/14 and examined their performance on indicators of college and career readiness and early college success. Charter school students and recipients of private school vouchers (voucher recipients) were most likely to belong to disadvantaged groups. After adjusting for student and high school background factors, students at private voucher schools who did not receive vouchers (nonvoucher students) performed similarly to or better than students in traditional public and charter schools on most indicators of college and career readiness; voucher recipients performed similarly to or better than students in traditional public schools; and among students who enrolled in an Indiana public college, students from all enrollment types performed similarly on indicators of early college success.
3/15/2021
REL 2021066 Alternative Career Readiness Measures for Small and Rural Districts in Texas

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.

2/22/2021
REL 2021063 Virginia High School Graduates' Career and Technical Education Credentials: Top Credentials Over Time and Across Student Groups
In Virginia, all high school students can earn either a Standard diploma or an Advanced Studies diploma, the latter being a college preparatory diploma. Starting in 2017, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) began requiring students graduating with the Standard diploma to earn a career and technical education (CTE) credential to encourage them to pursue opportunities that enhance their career readiness. This is likely to be particularly important for students graduating with the Standard diploma, as they have been shown to have limited success in postsecondary education.

This study examined the CTE credentials Virginia high school graduates most commonly earned from 2011 through 2017. The five most commonly earned CTE credentials in Virginia remained the same during this time period, but the percentage of students earning the Workplace Readiness Skills (WRS) and W!se Financial Literacy Certification credentials increased. Both of these credentials cover broad skills relevant to a wide range of jobs, as opposed to a specific occupation or industry. Although the new CTE requirement applies only to Standard diploma graduates, there were few differences in the top 10 credentials by diploma type, both in terms of which credentials were most common as well as the rates at which students earned these credentials. Regardless of diploma type, in 2017, 9 of the top 10 credentials were broad credentials that were not narrowly aligned to a specific occupation or industry. This study also looked at the top 10 credentials earned by 2017 Standard diploma graduates across a variety of student subgroups, including English learner students, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and racial/ethnic subgroups. English learner students and students with disabilities earned the top 10 credentials at lower rates than other Standard diploma graduates. Student credential-earning rates differed the most by geographic region, both in terms of which credentials appeared in the top 10 and the percentage of students earning the top 10 credentials.

This study highlights the need for additional analyses to help CTE stakeholders and policymakers understand the value of different types of CTE credentials. In particular, Virginia and other states might explore the relative value of broad CTE credentials that apply to a wide range of jobs and have become increasingly prevalent in Virginia compared with CTE credentials that are more narrowly aligned with a specific occupation or industry.
1/11/2021
NCES 2020010 Public High School Students' Career and Technical Education Coursetaking: 1992 to 2013
This Statistics in Brief examines public high school graduates’ career and technical education (CTE) coursetaking as of 2013, and trends in students’ CTE coursetaking from 1992 to 2013. The report uses data from three NCES longitudinal studies of high school students: the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, and the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009.
11/17/2020
REL 2021050 Examining high school career and technical education programs and the postsecondary outcomes of career and technical education students in the Round Rock Independent School District
This study investigated the percentage of Round Rock Independent School District (ISD) graduates from 2012/13 through 2017/18 who completed one or more career and technical education (CTE) programs of study and attained outcomes after high school graduation including college enrollment, degree or certificate attainment, and employment. The study also examined the alignment of CTE programs of study in Round Rock ISD and 41 other Central Texas districts with high-wage, in-demand career pathways in Central Texas, and the percentages of graduates who completed programs of study aligned with those high-wage, in-demand career pathways. The study used longitudinal student-level administrative high school, postsecondary education, and employment data, as well as Texas labor market information. The percentage of Round Rock ISD students who graduated with one or more CTE programs of study increased substantially across the six graduating cohorts to 47 percent for the 2017/18 cohort. More than 80 percent of Round Rock ISD CTE graduates from each cohort enrolled in two- or four-year colleges or were employed within one year of high school graduation. Seventy-six percent of 2015/16 through 2017/18 Round Rock ISD CTE graduates completed course requirements in the 13 programs of study aligned with regional high-wage, in-demand career pathways in the Central Texas labor market. Round Rock ISD leaders could use findings to encourage participation in CTE by all student groups. They also could use the results regarding CTE programs of study completed by graduates and the alignment of those programs to high-wage, in-demand career pathways in Central Texas to refine the CTE programs of study offered. To encourage postsecondary enrollment and completion, Round Rock ISD leaders could demonstrate for students and families which colleges and universities in the region have credentials in high-wage, in-demand programs of study. Finally, findings from the study provide information to inform Round Rock ISD leaders as they consider opening a CTE high school. Expanding CTE through an additional high school may expand opportunities for students to enroll in postsecondary education and engage in occupations related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
10/13/2020
REL 2020020 Implementation of Career- and College‑Ready Requirements for High School Graduation in Washington
The Washington State Board of Education recently developed career- and college-ready (CCR) graduation credit requirements that are more aligned with career pathways and with admissions standards at the state’s universities. The requirements took effect for the class graduating in 2019, though some districts implemented them earlier and others received waivers to delay implementation until the class of 2021. Local and state education leaders in Washington state asked Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest to conduct a study of districts’ progress toward implementing the CCR graduation credit requirements from 2018 to 2019. The study looked at student groups from the class of 2018 that did and did not meet the CCR graduation credit requirements and also examined changes in student outcomes when districts increased fine arts, science, world languages, or total graduation credit requirements in any year between 2012/13 and 2017/18. The study found that the percentage of districts implementing all CCR graduation credit requirements increased from 9 percent in 2018 to 56 percent in 2019. The districts that adopted the new requirements by 2018 tended to have fewer students per teacher in required content areas than districts that did not meet all the requirements. About 27 percent of all 2018 graduates met the CCR graduation credit requirements, with gaps that suggest additional barriers exist for students of color, students eligible for the national school lunch program, current English learner students, and students who have low scores on grade 8 state assessments. Finally, past district-level increases in fine arts, science, world languages, and total graduation credit requirements showed little impact on student academic outcomes.
7/20/2020
NCES 2020055 Students in Subbaccalaureate Health Sciences Programs: 2015–2016
This Data Point examines the enrollment and demographic characteristics of students enrolled in subbaccalaureate (certificate and associate’s degree) health sciences programs. The report uses data from the 2015–16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:16).
6/4/2020
REL 2020019 Assessing the Alignment between West Virginia’s High School Career and Technical Education Programs and the Labor Market
To help students leave high school on a path toward success in the labor market, education policymakers and practitioners often focus on improving career and technical education (CTE) opportunities in high school. Understanding the alignment between high school CTE programs and the labor market is an important step in this process. To support CTE improvement efforts, this study quantitatively assessed the alignment between West Virginia’s high school CTE programs and the labor market, with a focus on alignment to regional high-demand occupations that require moderate occupational preparation. These “high-demand study occupations” are the 20 occupations in each region of West Virginia with the largest number of long-term projected employment openings from 2014 to 2024 that require more than a high school diploma (for example, a license or work-related experience) but less than a bachelor’s degree. The study found that 70 percent of West Virginia’s long-term projected employment openings typically require some occupational preparation beyond a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. Further, 93 percent of the regional long-term projected employment openings in high-demand study occupations were served by at least one aligned CTE program in the same region. However, students in only 53 percent of the state’s CTE programs were in a program that aligned to at least one high-demand study occupation within their region. West Virginia stakeholders can use the findings to improve their CTE system’s alignment and better prepare students for a postsecondary career. This study also serves as an example for policymakers and practitioners in other states who are interested in quantifying their CTE system’s alignment in order to make data-informed decisions.
5/11/2020
NCES 2020019 Postsecondary Occupational Education Among Students Who Took Career and Technical Education in High School
This Data Point examines the postsecondary enrollment rates of students who took career and technical education (CTE) in high school and their pursuit of further study in related CTE fields.
4/28/2020
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