Implications for Career-Related Learning in High School

Publication August 1999

I think it is important for both faculty and students to feel as if what they are doing is important. Students especially need to know that they are being evaluated in many ways and what they do everywhere matters–not just in core academic courses, but everywhere. When their goal is being admitted into college, it’s important for them to know that they need to be competent writers in their English classes, as well as in their agriscience courses. -High School Agriscience Teacher

I think that competency-based admissions takes the pressure off of admissions officers’ backs by putting it on the high schools to say that this apprenticeship does help students develop math skills and this is how. It is up to them to determine whether it is valuable or not–defining the competencies and skills the student has gained by participating. I think this is a very useful tool for me in admissions to answer the question, “How does this apprenticeship experience develop math skills?” It is very helpful to know that those who are really working with students are evaluating them. -Admissions Officer, University of California, Berkeley

These two professionals’ comments reflect many educators’ sentiments about the use of new admissions procedures in four-year colleges and universities. Rather than relying on traditional measures of student performance, such as grades and the completion of Carnegie units in specific courses, these procedures attempt to describe what students know and can do. In this brief, we describe recently completed and continuing research aimed at assessing whether students who participate in career-related courses and work-based learning in high school benefit from these new assessments. We begin by describing the rationale behind efforts to redesign undergraduate admissions, noting some of the deficiencies in traditional measures used for student selection into colleges and universities. We then highlight recent initiatives in states where changing admissions have been developed: California, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Washington. Finally, we end with preliminary conclusions about the use of changing admissions procedures for students who follow a career-oriented curriculum in high school. Additional findings and conclusions will appear in Fall 1999 in the final report of this project.

Pribbenow, C. M., Phelps, L. A., Briggs, D., & Stern, D. (1999, August). Implications for career-related learning in high school. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

Download the report (PDF)