Deficiencies in Evidence
CTE programs facilitate positive outcomes for students, including DOP students (Advisory Committee, 2004). Participation in CTE programs can increase school attendance and improve labor market outcomes after graduation, whether or not the student attends post- secondary education. Further, these programs deliver a better financial return than second chance programs aimed at high school dropouts – adding value to the notion of prevention (Bishop & Mane, 2003). When targeted specifically to decrease the risk of dropout, CTE programs can also be successful and can decrease the risk of dropout (Bishop & Mane, 2003; Plank, DeLuca, & Estacion, 2008). However, the effectiveness of a program can vary depending on its design, leveL of continual monitoring, available technical assistance, and the school’s ability to discontinue ineffective programs. These factors can greatly impact the students who participate in the programs (Stern, et al., 1989).
The way in which CTE programs connect to students varies based on individual circumstances, many of which have been evaluated to better understand their impact. Some of these factors include the role of CTE programs in transitioning students to postsecondary education (Dare, 2006), the experiences of African American students in CTE programs (Fletcher, & Cox, 2012), the impact disability awareness can have on CTE instruction (Hall, 2007), and an examination of an oral reading fluency on CTE students (Mellard, Woods, & Desa, 2012).
Although the significance of these studies should not be understated, a problem remains. “CTE reform efforts are seriously under-researched. School and district personnel are forced to make major programmatic decisions in the absence of replicating studies or, often, any process or outcome studies to inform their thinking” (Castellano, Stringfield & Stone, 2003). This study seeks to take a broader approach to the themes that impact DOP students in CTE programs by examining the topic of access to and participation in CTE programs by DOP students in the United States based on poverty concentration. This study seeks to examine those variables in a way that helps to create increased awareness.
The research in this study focused on understanding the issue of access to and participation in enriching education programs by DOP students in the United States based on poverty concentration The following four questions were designed to explore DOP students’ ability to access and participate in CTE programs in communities according to SES:
- Is there a statistically-significant relationship between the availability of career and technical high schools in the United States and poverty concentration?
- Is there a statistically-significant relationship between the participation in career and technical high schools in the United States by DOP students and poverty concentration?
- Is there a statistically-significant relationship between the availability of career and technical education courses at regular high schools in the United States and poverty concentration?
- Is there a statistically-significant relationship between the level of participation in career and technical education courses at regular high schools in the United States based on poverty concentration?
Significance of the Study
In order to promote a better understanding of the factors impacting the successes and failures of DOP students, the author examined the access to and participation in CTE programs by DOP students based on poverty concentration using a quantitative approach. Results of examining this research can contribute to a larger body of research on the contributions of enriching educational programs for DOP students, using the lessons learned here for the benefit of students across socio-economic levels to improve access and participation. Researchers can use the results of this study to stimulate their own research, using the NCES survey Dropout Prevention Services and Programs to explore issues impact DOP students by isolating different variables to understand the impact that other sources can have on the issue. Federal, State, and Local school administrators can use this research to shape policies and programs that address these issues. Further discussion of these implications will be conducted in chapter five.