Rigorous Tests of Student Outcomes in CTE Programs of Study: Year 3 Report

Rigorous Tests of Student Outcomes in CTE Programs of Study: Year 3 Report

Jun 2011


Marisa Castellano
Kirsten Sundell
Laura Overman
Oscar Aliaga

Executive Summary:

This longitudinal study, currently in its fourth year, is being conducted in the context of the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins legislation (2006), which funds career and technical education (CTE) nationwide. The recent reauthorization, known as Perkins IV, modified existing practice by increasing program accountability in the areas of academic achievement, technical skills achievement, and alignment with postsecondary technical education in the form of programs of study (POS). The legislation also upheld previous emphases on serving nontraditional students and those from special populations (e.g., special education students). The Perkins mandate sets a high standard, but many states and local education agencies had already begun to develop programs to achieve these goals. This study evaluates the impact of this federally mandated education reform.

The study also addresses several of the research strands identified by the United States Department of Education (USDE), Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) as integral to the agenda of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE). First, this scientifically based study in schools implementing CTE POS seeks to identify successful methods for addressing the education and training needs of high school students, including nontraditional and special populations. We are examining the effects of POS on student outcomes compared to the traditional high school experience (i.e., “business as usual”). Second, the results of this study may be used to increase the effectiveness and improve the implementation of POS at other high schools so that they implement coherent and rigorous CTE content aligned with challenging academic standards. The study is generating important results toward this end: longitudinal student outcome information on programs of study, including academic, technical, and work readiness measures.



Castellano, M., Sundell, K. E., Overman, L. T., & Aliaga, O. A. (2011, June). Rigorous tests of student outcomes in CTE programs of study: Year 3 report. Louisville, KY: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Louisville.