New CTE Study in Florida Finds Relationship between CTE Classes, Improved Performance

Grunwald Associates LLC has released a new report with detailed performance data from Florida students who have been enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes as part of Florida’s reinvention of vocational education. The report, Student Performance in Career and Technical Education, studies Florida high school student data from the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years. The report finds that students who completed at least one CTE course and one industry certification exam had higher attendance rates and GPAs than their peers who did not, and also had similar rates of enrollment in four-year colleges.

In terms of attendance rates, students completing technology classes were in school for, on average, nearly 17 more days a year. Moreover, the study found that the effect of the CTE courses was cumulative, as students who completed two CTE classes had higher attendance rates than those who only took one. Similar results were seen in students’ GPA; students completing at least one technology class had higher GPAs than their peers (2.92 versus 2.55). The subgroup of students completing more than one CTE class averaged a 2.98 GPA, while those students taking only one CTE class averaged a 2.76. While controlling for other variables, such as race and socioeconomic status, the report found that CTE courses were responsible for 11 percent of the increase in attendance and 22 percent of the increase in GPA.

The study also concluded that students who took technology courses were just as likely as their peers to be admitted to a four-year college. However, the study did not compare enrollment or graduation rates of the two groups due to the limitations of available data.

While the authors of the report are quick to caution that these results are correlational, rather than causal, they hope that the results are encouraging for other states looking to implement overhauls to their vocational education. To read the full report, please click here. For more information on CTE, please visit the National High School Center’s College and Career Readiness page.

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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