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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Low Dropout Rates for Massachusetts CTE

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January 29, 2013

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Low Dropout Rates for Massachusetts CTE

A new paper examines the low dropout rates in Massachusetts vocational technical schools and uses case studies to illustrate effective strategies for encouraging student attendance, engagement and completion.

According to Hands-On Achievement: Why Massachusetts Vocational Technical Schools Have Low Dropout Rates, the dropout rate for comprehensive high schools in Massachusetts was 2.8 percent in 2011, compared to a dropout rate of 1.6 percent for vocational technical schools on average and 0.9 percent for regional vocational technical schools.

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Part of the success of Massachusetts vocational technical schools in stemming dropout is attributed to the time spent in CTE classes: about one-half of students’ time is dedicated to hands-on learning in a career major, with the other half set aside for rigorous academics. In addition, author Alison L. Fraser, with William Donovan, profiles several Massachusetts vocational technical schools with low dropout rates and their strategies for success, including a focus on attendance as well as business partnerships and curricula relevant to local industry.

The paper notes that vocational technical schools in urban areas had a higher than average dropout rate of 4.4 percent. Sources in the report speculate that this higher dropout rate in urban centers may be linked to an immigrant population that moves in and out of the area and to a community culture that has yet to fully embrace the promise of CTE.

All in all, this is a great tool for Massachusetts CTE advocates!

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