The Role of School Culture in Improving Student Achievement in POS

Publication Kirsten Sundell, Marisa Castellano, Laura Overman, and Oscar AliagaJanuary 2012

Rigorous Tests of Student Outcomes in CTE Programs of Study, a longitudinal study, was designed to estimate the impact of POS on high school students’ academic and technical achievement outcomes through the completion of high school. For the past four years, NRCCTE researchers have followed two cohorts of students from the Class of 2012 in two large, urban school districts that offer POS. Each year, student outcome data are collected and site visits are conducted at treatment and control or comparison schools; the researchers observe academic and CTE classes and interview students, teachers, counselors and administrators in order to get a better sense of the experiences of students attending POS compared to students not attending POS.

This article describes the districts and schools participating in the study and summarizes what the researchers have learned about how district and school policies, practices, and cultures support the implementation of POS and promote student success in preparing for life after high school. At this point, findings indicate that POS offer students rigorous, engaging instruction in academic and technical content areas. This is combined with opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to the solution of real-world problems, earn college credits, familiarize themselves with careers, and connect with local businesses and community partners. No less importantly, POS appear to be strengthened by school cultures, organizational structures, and instructional practices that emphasize academic and technical achievement, high expectations and preparation for life after high school.

Sundell, K., Castellano, M., Overman, L., & Aliaga, O. A. (2012). The role of school culture in improving student achievement in POS. Techniques, 87(1), 28-31.

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