Preparing Students for College and Career in the United States - The Effects of Career-Themed Programs of Study on High School Performance

Preparing Students for College and Career in the United States - The Effects of Career-Themed Programs of Study on High School Performance

Marisa E. Castellano, George B. Richardson, Kirsten Sundell, & James R. Stone III
Nov 2016
Vocations and Learning

In the United States, education policy calls for every student to graduate from high school prepared for college and a career. National legislation has mandated programs of study (POS), which offer aligned course sequences spanning secondary and postsecondary education, blending standards-based academic and career and technical education (CTE) content and often including work-based learning opportunities. This study examined the effects of these career-themed POS on high school achievement outcomes in the United States. We used structural equations and an instrumental variable approach to test the effects of POS enrollment and participation in CTE course sequences on GPA and graduation. Results indicated that POS enrollment improved students’ probability of graduation by 11.3 % and that each additional CTE credit earned in POS increased their probability of graduation by 4 %. There were non-significant effects for high school GPA. These findings suggest that POS benefited students in terms of retention at no cost to their achievement.

Castellano, M.E., Richardson, G.B., Sundell, K., & Stone, J. R. III. (2016). Preparing Students for College and Career in the United States - The Effects of Career-Themed Programs of Study on High School Performance. Vocations and Learning. doi:10.1007/s12186-016-9162-7