Achievement Outcomes Among High School Graduates in College and Career Readiness Programs of Study

Achievement Outcomes Among High School Graduates in College and Career Readiness Programs of Study

Marisa E. Castellano, Kirsten Sundell, & George B. Richardson
Apr 2017
Peabody Journal of Education

This study investigated the relationships between completing the high school portion of a college- and career-preparatory program of study and high school achievement outcomes in a large urban district in the West. Programs of study are secondary-to-postsecondary educational programs mandated by the federal legislation (Perkins IV) governing career and technical education (CTE) in the United States. At graduation, 49.5% of students in the sample who began a program of study had completed their programs. Using multiple regression models, we compared graduates who completed a program of study (hereafter POS completers) to graduates who completed a number of CTE courses in a specific occupational area (CTE concentrators), and to graduates who may have taken a CTE course or two during high school but were neither POS completers nor CTE concentrators (All Others). POS completers were more likely to (a) have a higher overall GPA, (b) have a higher CTE GPA, and (c) earn more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) credits than All Other students. Compared with CTE concentrators, POS completers were more likely to (a) have a higher overall GPA and (b) earn more STEM credits. Qualitative data describe contextual elements of programs of study as offered in West District that could explain these results. Study results suggest that districts should consider implementing career-themed programs such as programs of study that enhance their existing college- and career-readiness initiatives. We also call for further study of the postsecondary and labor market outcomes associated with programs of study in order to generate a clearer picture of their potential to increase academic and technical achievement and promote successful student transitions to higher education and the workplace.

Castellano, M. E., Sundell, K. E., & Richardson, G. B. (2017). Achievement Outcomes Among High School Graduates in College and Career Readiness Programs of Study. Peabody Journal of Education. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0161956X.2017.1302220