Career and Technical Education Reforms and Comprehensive School Reforms in High Schools and Community Colleges: Their Impact on Educational Outcomes for At-Risk Youth

Career and Technical Education Reforms and Comprehensive School Reforms in High Schools and Community Colleges: Their Impact on Educational Outcomes for At-Risk Youth

Jan 2001

Authors:

Marisa Castellano
Samuel Stringfield
Johns Hopkins University

James R. Stone III
University of Minnesota

Executive Summary:

This literature review explores the intersection of several broad areas of education research. In the first section, we cover three areas within secondary education research: an examination of student risk factors in education; the state of the art in secondary vocational education, increasingly known as career and technical education (CTE); and the interplay of these new forms of CTE and other comprehensive school reform efforts in high schools. In the second section, we turn our attention to reforms and other trends in postsecondary CTE, usually located in community colleges. Our goal is to examine the effects that these reform efforts have had on outcomes for at-risk students. Because these are relatively independent strands in the literature, we have cast a wide net. We draw connections across the fields wherever possible, so as to explore ways to improve the education and life chances of students placed at risk of school failure or dropping out.

Section One of this report examines student risk factors in education; student-level, family-level, school-level, and community-level risk factors are discussed, with the conclusion being that students with any of these factors could be at risk of not graduating from high school. Students who attend schools where many of these factors exist have a greatly increased likelihood of dropping out. This research-based definition of at-risk students frames our subsequent analyses. Next, we examine whether school reforms in general, and CTE reforms specifically, have had any impact on schooling outcomes for at-risk students—achievement, attendance, course-taking, or transition to postsecondary opportunities.

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Castellano, M., Stringfield, S., & Stone, J. R., III. (2001). Career and technical education reforms and comprehensive school reforms in high schools and community colleges: Their impact on educational outcomes for at-risk youth. St. Paul, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Minnesota.