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Strategies for Student Development through Career & Technical Education. L. Allen Phelps, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Essential and Emerging Insights. Clarity of Outcomes Matters Expanding Learner Diversity Renewing Career and Technical Education Redesigning High Schools for All Youth

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Strategies for student development through career technical education

Strategies for Student Development through Career & Technical Education

L. Allen Phelps, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Essential and emerging insights
Essential and Emerging Insights Technical Education

  • Clarity of Outcomes Matters

  • Expanding Learner Diversity

  • Renewing Career and Technical Education

  • Redesigning High Schools for All Youth

  • Data-driven Decision-making is Imperative

  • Renewing CTE Technical Education

  • Secondary-post-secondary programs of study

  • Career clusters

  • SLCs w/career themes

  • Academic and technical skills

  • Expanding Learner Diversity

  • Gender

  • Disability

  • ELL

  • Ethnicity

  • SES

  • Dropouts

  • NEET

  • Outcomes

  • Careers

  • College

  • Civic engage-ment

  • Policy Influences

  • Disaggregation of data

  • Performance gaps

  • Dis-proportionality

  • Policy Influences

  • Performance Accountability

  • Access to postsecondary education

  • Equitable Access for Special Populations

  • Redesigning High Schools

  • Academic engagement

  • Personalized learning environ.

  • Engaged youth & communities

  • Aligned standards and systems

  • Empowered educators

  • Accountable leaders

  • Policy Influences

  • State Systems of Support

  • Highly Qualified Teachers

  • Supplemental Education Services



Post school outcomes status 2 years beyond high school
Post School Outcomes: Technical EducationStatus 2 Years Beyond High School

Career Outcomes NELS88 NLTS2 (1-2 yr)

  • Employment 65% 50%

  • Wages 70% >Fed min.

  • Satisfying Work 65 82

    College Outcomes 63 37

  • Enrolled: 2 year 22 21

  • Enrolled: 4 year 36 10

  • Enrolled: Technical 5 6

    Civic Engagement

  • Volunteering 30 25

  • Registered to Vote 64

    Not Employed or in Education and Training 7.3

    Source: 1994 SRI (2005)

Changing student populations
Changing Student Populations Technical Education

Extent of cte participation
Extent of CTE Participation Technical Education

According to the NCES, the 1998 high school grads:

  • 96.5% completed at least one course,

  • 61.5% completed three courses in any of ten program areas

  • 25.0% completed three or more credits in one program area, e.g., health care, marketing, child care education

  • Completed 25 credits with 4.0 in career-technical courses in 1998.

  • Completed 21.6 credits with 4.6 in career-technical courses in 1982.

Expanding learner diversity percent of 1998 seniors in cte
Expanding Learner Diversity: Technical EducationPercent of 1998 Seniors in CTE

Course- Invest- Concen-

takers ors trators

  • All seniors 96.5 61.5 25.0

  • Students with a disability 99.1 83.0 37.5

  • Limited English proficient 95.8 52.2 8.7

  • GPA >2.0 98.8 75.2 35.2

College and career preparation
College and Career Preparation Technical Education

Curriculum Specialization 1982 1990 1994

Total 100% 100% 100%

College preparation only 8.1 25.9 32.2

Career concentration only 33.1 25.0 20.9

Both college preparation and

career concentration 0.6 2.8 4.6

Other/general 58.2 46.3 42.4

Source: NCES:

Optimal mix of academic and cte
Optimal Mix of Academic and CTE Technical Education

  • A combination of 3 CTE courses and 4 academic courses reduces the probability of dropping out for at-risk courses. (Plank)

  • Recent research evidence indicates that participation in CTE does not increase academic test performance (NAVE)

  • CTE courses neither hurt nor help students’ chances of going to college, but they are associated with a shift away from bachelor’s degrees toward earning associate’s degrees or certificates (NAVE)

Cte academic courses optimal student engagement
CTE/Academic Courses: Technical EducationOptimal Student Engagement

Career academies data
Career Academies: Data Technical Education

  • No studies examining access to or effects for students with disabilities.

  • Male graduates of career academies had significant long term earnings benefits (≈18% greater over 4 years, $10K differential) over female graduates. (Kemple)

  • Higher student satisfaction, attendance, grade point averages, and course credits earned (3 studies)

Career academies additional data
Career Academies, additional data Technical Education

  • Lower absenteeism and dropout rates (3 studies)

  • Postsecondary education outcomes that are at or above the national averages for preparation, enrollment (particularly in 4-year colleges), and success (3 studies). However, most longitudinal studies do not reveal significant effects/advantages for career academy and non-academy participants from similar communities and backgrounds.

Curriculum integration
Curriculum Integration Technical Education

  • In a review of qualitative studies reviewed by Eisenmann (2000), the integration of academic and vocational curricula promoted meaningful engagement and inclusion of students with disabilities by increasing persistence, academic achievement, and postsecondary engagement.

  • Project Lead the Way – a 6-course pre-engineering curriculum aligned with science, math, and technology education standards.

    • Emphasizes real-world problem solving and interaction with engineers and technicians

    • Principles of Engineering, Digital Electronics, Biomedical Eng.

Project lead the way student engagement in 4 high schools
Project Lead the Way: Technical EducationStudent Engagement in 4 High Schools

School based enterprises
School Based Enterprises Technical Education

  • In a large longitudinal database, some career-focused high school programs (school-based enterprises) have positive effects on going to college while others do not (Tech Prep, job shadowing, mentoring, apprenticeships, and cooperative education). (Neumark)

    Key Features of SBE for students with disabilities: (Gugerty)

  • Learned a myriad of business skills and real world business practices (e.g., ordering equipment, accounting and personnel management, customer relations)

  • Experienced the critical relationship of math, language, interpersonal skills, and performance to personal and organizational success in a “real world” context.

Work based learning
Work Based Learning Technical Education

  • Compared to other college students, graduates of high school youth apprenticeship programs in WI (4 courses and 1000 hours of work-based learning): enter college with comparable ACT scores, persist in college at the same rate with comparable grades, and are significantly more likely to complete an Associate’s degree than their peers. (Knox and Phelps, 1999)

  • Youth with disabilities represented 5% of Youth Apprenticeship students

  • Several studies conclude that some work during high school (15-20 hours) a week is correlated with better grades. (Kazis)

Cte practices in place
CTE Practices in Place Technical Education

% of all Public High Schools Offering

Career Academies 21.5%

Written Career Plans for all students 57.0

Career Majors (academic and CTE courses) 49.0

Work-based Learning for credit 71.8

Job Shadowing 60.0

Dual Enrollment courses offered

Academic focus 92.0

CTE focus 51.0

Source: ELS 2002 and 2004

Redesigned high schools key features
Redesigned High Schools: Key Features Technical Education

School A: SwD: 22% School B: SwD: 17%

Core Teaching and Learning Practices

Integrated academic Service learning requirements curriculum

Service learning & Senior project to graduate


Graduation by portfolio Critical friends group for

and exhibitions professional development

Redesigned high schools results
Redesigned High Schools, Results Technical Education

Graduates of two high schools using individualized, real-world approaches to learning (portfolios and senior projects for graduation, integrated academic curriculum, curriculum-linked service learning and internships, advisories, personal learning plans) reported substantially higher outcomes than national longitudinal study participants on the following measures:

  • entering a 4-year college,

  • employment and job satisfaction, and

  • participation in community groups.

Restructured high schools
Restructured High Schools Technical Education

Coalition Campus Schools Project (2002), a 7-year study of a restructured NYC high school, Julia Richman High School

  • Five independent small schools were created to replace a comprehensive high school operating with a 37% 4-year graduation rate.

  • Small school design features included small school size, reduced pupil load, advisement structures, and multiple strategies for active learning.

Restructured high schools results
Restructured High Schools: Results Technical Education

  • As a group the five small schools produced substantially better attendance, lower incident rates, better performance on reading and writing assessments, higher graduation rates, and higher college-going rates than the previous school, despite serving a more educationally disadvantaged population of students.

  • Prior to restructuring 7.3% were special education identified and 4.2% were served in resource rooms.

  • In 2001, across the five small schools, 2.2% were special education identified and 10.6% of students were served in resource rooms.

Recommendations for state teams
Recommendations for State Teams Technical Education

Enhance State data system and planning capacity

  • Develop longitudinal student record data using ID numbers to link records across schools and systems

  • Ensure adequate assessment accommodations and alternate assessments

  • Include untested students

  • Measure academic growth using value added measures

  • Create college and work readiness standards for all graduates

  • Align federal performance requirements with State needs and priorities: NCLB, IDEA, Perkins, WIA

Recommendations for state teams1
Recommendations for State Teams Technical Education

Develop/expand professional development partnerships

  • Address big questions: What do high school graduates need if they are to engage effectively in college, career and civic pursuits? Examine all stakeholders perspectives.

  • Focus on data-driven instructional and inclusion leadership strategies (data retreats and equity audits)

  • Support data analysis applications that are important at the classroom and school level, e.g., college and career success rates for academy or SBE graduates with disabilities.

    Create systems and incentives for measuring progress

Contact information
Contact Information Technical Education

Allen Phelps

Director and Professor

Center on Education and Work

University of Wisconsin-Madison


[email protected]