Career and technical education and academic progress at the end of high school: Evidence from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002
This report examines the efficacy of career and technical education (CTE) for assessing students in learning mathematics and preventing students from dropping out of high school. CTE is a wide field of educational practice that includes occupational training and career preparation offered in formats ranging from individual courses to comprehensive programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels. Recent changes in the policy environment emphasizing academic progress for CTE students have made proper evaluation of the influence of CTE on outcomes
such as mathematics learning and dropping out of high school increasingly important.
This report uses data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), a
recently completed national-level study of high school students. ELS:2002 began with a nationally representative sample of 10th-graders in public and private schools in the United States in 2002. Sample members were surveyed again in the spring of 2004, when most were high school seniors. In the spring of 2005, transcripts were collected from these students’ high schools. Using these data with methods that correct for common challenges in determining the influence of CTE, this report contrasts the effects of academic courses and occupational courses on mathematics learning and dropping out of high school for students in the ELS:2002 sample who attended public schools. Key student subgroups defined by the No Child Left Behind Act are examined closely, and attention is paid to alternative ways of defining and analyzing occupational coursetaking.