Essay on Dropouts and CTE

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Dropouts and CTE

In October 2000, the overall picture of high school dropouts had changed little since the late 1980s (Kaufman et al. 2001): For every 100 young adults enrolled in high school in October 1999, 5 had left school without completing a program; of 34.6 million U.S. young adults aged 16-24, 3.8 million—almost 11 percent—had not completed high school and were not enrolled. Some studies have shown that students in schools with a concentration of multiple risk factors (e.g., large schools, large classes, high poverty, inner city location) have less than one chance in two of graduating from high school; furthermore, the economic costs of dropping out have increased as time goes on (Castellano et al. 2001). Adjusting for 50
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Mertens et al. (1982) analyzed data from the New Youth cohort of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Force Behavior and found a very small (about 0.1 percent) but statistically significant effect of vocational education in reducing the likelihood of dropping out, particularly for at-risk students. Perlmutter (1982) compared secondary retention in a large urban school district among matched groups of students who applied to vocational high schools and were admitted (Vocational Controls), those who applied but were not admitted (Targets), and those who had not applied (Academic Controls). After 1 semester, 18 percent of the Targets had dropped out--but none of the Vocational Controls. After 5 semesters, Vocational Controls had the highest retention rate in district schools (73.7 percent), followed by Academic Controls (68.7 percent) and Targets (58.5 percent). Furthermore, when both Targets and Academic Controls received any occupational training in academic high schools, they showed better retention rates.

In a review of research, Boesel et al. (1994) noted that descriptive findings indicated that vocational students were less likely than general students to drop out (if more likely than academic students). However, students who defined themselves as vocational students in 12th rather than 9th grade in a follow-up survey or who were defined by having a vocational concentration were often much less likely to drop out than
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