Building Bridges from High School Career Technical Education to Postsecondary and Career Success with CTE Math, Endorsements, and Dual Enrollment



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This dissertation evaluates three different implementations of Career Technical Education (CTE) using statewide, longitudinal high school, college, and workforce data. Modern CTE can be used to build a seamless bridge from high school to college and career entry by complementing and deepening academic coursework. The first study investigates the college and career outcomes of endorsement pathways and the phenomenon of postsecondary undermatching in the state of Texas with the Foundation High School Program. The results indicate that students tend to undermatch differently between and within endorsements. Arts & Humanities, STEM and one other endorsement, and Two non-STEM endorsements show significant statewide undermatching rates. However, these results change when examining students by demographic and by the geographic location of their schools. Rural students were more likely to undermatch in with STEM plus another endorsement and Two non-STEM endorsements. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Urban students experienced the opposite outcome and were more likely to undermatch in all endorsements except STEM plus another and Two non-STEM endorsements. As a rule, Business & Industry did not yield significant undermatching results for urbanicity or demographic subgroups. Results indicate that undermatching is more pervasive in Arts & Humanities which does not offer CTE coursework. This study suggests that local alignment and adjustment is needed to meet the needs of students from different demographics and geographic locations. The second study examines the highest courses taken with a focus on designated CTE Math courses that are used to meet math graduation requirements in Texas. The analysis determined that the integration of CTE Math courses impacts students’ secondary math course taking, postsecondary readiness, and workplace outcomes. The study evaluated the highest level of math taken for students and found shifts in course taking following implementation of the FHSP. CTE Math course taking tripled from 2014-2015 to 2019-2020. Subgroup analysis shows how this policy shifts may differently impact groups of students by demographic. Demographic makeup of terminal math pathways were largely similar with the exception of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. These courses saw decreases in students who were black, Latinx, and economically disadvantaged. These courses saw increases of students who were white and students who were Asian which indicates possible tracking at these highest math levels. CTE math as the highest math did correlate positively with entry to two-year colleges. Additionally, Rural students taking CTE Math as the terminal course saw a 12% increase in wages when entering the workforce. The third study investigates the interplay of CTE through dual enrollment and how Georgia’s HB 444 funding cap interacts with credential completion rates in a large Georgia technical college system. This study finds a 6% reduction in credential completion rates in the years immediately following the funding cap. This trend occurs for both male and female students. The funding cap policy restricted credential completion rates in the very industries the state defined as critical workforce need areas. Dual enrollment is poised to bridge high school and college; however, funding restrictions may restrict the ability for students to earn the most meaningful credentials.



Undermatching, Career Technical Education Math, Dual Enrollment, Texas Foundation High School Program Endorsements