From MassBudget – If we want all of our young people to have the opportunity to thrive, it is more important than ever that high schools be designed to maximize the chances that students will graduate, and that when they do, they are prepared to enter college or have skills valued in the labor force. High-quality career and technical education (CTE) has the potential to help students achieve both of these ends, and there is increasing evidence in Massachusetts that regional vocational and technical high schools (RVTS) may be particularly effective at ensuring school completion and the earning of potentially valuable industry-recognized credentials while in high school.

Read the full report at: http://massbudget.org/report_window.php?loc=Career-and-Technical-Education.html

Earlier research has demonstrated that CTE can provide long-term financial benefits to participants, yet hardly any studies rigorously explored academic impacts. In new research, I show that students who are just admitted to three oversubscribed RVTS have substantially higher probabilities (7-10 percentage points) of persisting in and graduating from high school and are more likely to earn industry-recognized credentials (see chart below). They also score just as well on the state MCAS exams compared to students who also applied and just missed getting in. In addition, when extending the analysis to other RVTS, effects appear to be similar, though data limitations affect how much these results can be generalized to other schools. The higher levels of attainment of high school diplomas and industry credentials right at the threshold of being admitted, compared to not, demonstrate the positive effects for students on the margin.

These findings are important to education policy in Massachusetts, but also to those interested in college and career readiness, and cost-effective social policy in general. They suggest that under certain circumstances, it is possible to generate large impacts on graduation probabilities, without sacrificing subject-specific knowledge (at least in math and language arts), and the potential to earn credentials that may also have market value to employers.

Read the full report at: http://massbudget.org/report_window.php?loc=Career-and-Technical-Education.html