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Academic Impacts of Career and Technical Schools

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This study presents findings from three cohorts of students – the classes of 2003, 2004, and 2005, in the School District of Philadelphia – that were admitted to the district's career and technical education (CTE) schools through a randomized lottery process. This study takes advantage of this so-called “natural experiment” to compare high school academic outcomes for lottery applicants who were admitted with those for students who did not receive an acceptance. Results find that CTE students had significantly better outcomes in terms of graduation rates, credit accumulation, and the successful completion of the college preparatory mathematics sequence algebra 1, algebra 2, and geometry. Results for other outcomes such as the completion of science and foreign language course sequences, overall grade point average, and mathematics and reading comprehension achievement, were inconsistent across cohorts and statistical tests, neither favoring nor against students accepted to CTE schools.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • (CTER) publishes refereed articles that examine research and research-related topics in vocational/career and technical education, career development, human resource development, career issues in the schools (Grades K-12), postsecondary education, adult and lifelong learning, and workforce education. The CTER Editorial Board is committed to publishing scholarly work that represents a variety of conceptual and methodological bases. Submission of manuscripts representing one of the following styles is encouraged: (a) empirically-based manuscripts that report results of original research, either quantitative or qualitative, (b) reviews or synthesis of empirical or theoretical literature, (c) essays derived from original historical or philosophical research, (d) reviews of recently published books, and (e) rejoinders to articles recently published in CTER. CTER will consider for publication papers initially presented at conferences, including those disseminated through conference proceedings.
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