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Is There a Career and Technical Education Coursetaking Pipeline Between High School and College?

by Jay Stratte Plasman, Michael A. Gottfried & Cameron Sublett - 2019

Background: Previous studies have explored the relationship between career and technical education (CTE) on numerous secondary and college outcomes. However, a key oversight in the literature is the examination of the CTE coursetaking pipeline as it makes a direct connection between high school and college.

Research Questions: We asked the following research questions to address the gap in CTE literature around secondary to postsecondary pipelines: 1. Does taking CTE courses in high school predict taking CTE courses in college? 2. Does this relationship differ between students who attend 2- and 4-year colleges? 3. Does the relationship differ by different areas of CTE?

Research Design: To respond to these questions, we used the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), a nationally representative dataset. We employed basic logistic regression, school fixed effects, and instrumental variable estimations to reduce biases in our estimations in the relationship between high school and college CTE coursetaking.

Results: We found that CTE coursetaking in high school linked to overall CTE coursetaking across all years of college. When examining 2- and 4-year college coursetaking independently, only the relationship between high school and 4-year college CTE coursetaking was significant. We also found that there existed differential linking based on type of institution in which the courses were completed and area of CTE—specifically, applied STEM, business, trade and industry, and health.

Conclusions: A first implication from these findings is that CTE in high school, which is itself funded through the current iteration of the Perkins legislation, appears to be having a noticeable link to CTE participation in college. From the second research question, there could very well be a strong connection between high school CTE and 2-year enrollment that is not reflected in first year CTE coursetaking at the 2-year level. Finally, the implications from the third research question speak to the need to focus on CTE as a group of individual categories as opposed to a single overarching group.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 3, 2019, p. 1-32
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22592, Date Accessed: 9/24/2021 8:47:40 PM

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About the Author
  • Jay Stratte Plasman
    University of California Santa Barbara
    E-mail Author
    JAY STRATTE PLASMAN is a PhD candidate in the Education Policy, Leadership, and Methodology program in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on college and career readiness, particularly concerning career and technical education and federal education policy.
  • Michael Gottfried
    University of California Santa Barbara
    E-mail Author
    MICHAEL A. GOTTFRIED is an Associate Professor in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. His research focuses on the economics of education and education policy. Recent publications include “Linking Getting to School with Going to School,” an Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
  • Cameron Sublett
    Pepperdine University
    E-mail Author
    CAMERON SUBLETT is an Associate Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University. His research examines policy, leadership, and research methods in K–16 education contexts.
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