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Taking 2+ CTE Classes Reduces Dropout, Arizona Study Finds


May 17, 2013


Taking 2+ CTE Classes Reduces Dropout, Arizona Study Finds

Taking two or more CTE courses is related to lower dropout rates in two Arizona districts, according to a report from the Arizona State University Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

To explore how CTE helps meet educational challenges in Arizona, researchers at the Morrison Institute analyzed student records from two Arizona school districts. For Tucson Unified School District, taking three or more CTE classes in the same program area reduced a student's likelihood of dropping out by up to 60 percent. For Mesa Public Schools, taking two CTE classes was correlated with a 79 percent reduced likelihood of dropping out. In addition, in Mesa Public Schools, the number of days absent was 3 days less for students taking two or more CTE classes.  

As a reminder for readers outside of the Grand Canyon State, at the high school level, Arizona CTE is primarily delivered through the 13 Joint Technical Education Districts (JTEDs). JTEDs deliver CTE classes, at no additional cost to students, either through classes on a central JTED campus or classes at the member high schools.

Principal author Sapna Gupta also discusses potential solutions for Arizona's educational challenges, although many of these recommendations could apply to other states, too:

  • Restore CTE funding, which was cut by the legislature for freshman CTE classes provided by JTEDs, eliminating $27 million beginning with the 2011-12 school year
  • Consider equivalent, stringent qualifications for CTE teachers to be able to teach courses with core academic content, as opposed to the "highly qualified" requirement of a bachelor degree
  • Promote and scale up work-based learning to benefit both CTE students and employers
  • Expand and improve career exploration and advising before high school
  • Embed and better document academic content in CTE programs and integrate CTE into the implementation of Common Core State Standards
  • Strengthen dual enrollment and articulation
  • Consider tracking and incentivizing the attainment of industry-recognized credentials

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