Balancing Career and Technical Education with Academic Coursework

The Consequences for Mathematics Achievement in High School

Published in: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, v. 35, no. 2, June 2013, p. 123-138

Posted on RAND.org on May 02, 2013

by Robert Bozick, Benjamin Dalton

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Federal legislation has attempted to move career and technical education (CTE) from a segregated component of the high school curriculum to an integrated element that jointly improves both academic and career readiness. However, concerns remain about the ability of CTE to improve academic learning. Using a nationally representative sample of high school students, we examine the relationship between CTE coursework and mathematics achievement in high school. Accounting for observed and unobserved characteristics of students, we find that CTE courses neither limit over all gains in mathematics learning nor the acquisition of basic and intermediate mathematics skills. Additionally, engineering and technology courses, a subset of CTE courses that incorporate quantitative reasoning, logic, and problem solving, are unrelated with math achievement.

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