Transition from High School to College and Work for Tech Prep Participants In Eight Selected Consortia

Publication November 2002

This four-year longitudinal study examines student experiences and outcomes in local tech prep consortia in eight different regions of the country. The study provides a quantitative analysis of students’ experiences as participants in tech prep programs,1 as well as their post-high-school educational and employment outcomes. Findings are presented for students identified locally as participants in tech prep programs, referred to as tech prep participants, as compared to a group of students drawn from the general student population with similar academic performance at high school graduation, referred to as non-participants. The study was undertaken to address fundamental questions about student involvement in tech prep programs and students’ educational and employment outcomes after high school. Considering the federal commitment to tech prep implementation, beginning with the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act of 1990 (Perkins II), it is vitally important to understand various ways these programs have engaged and influenced student outcomes.

Questions addressing student transition to college and work after high school were at the forefront of this quantitative analysis because few studies have examined how tech prep programs influenced students’ further education and work after high school graduation. Recognizing that a key feature of tech prep programs is the articulation of secondary and postsecondary curricula and preparation for future technical careers, a longitudinal study was needed to follow students from high school to college and into employment over an extended period of time.

The research design was mixed-method, allowing for a dominant and less-dominant approach (Creswell, 1994). From January 1998 through December 2001, we undertook a longitudinal causal-comparative assessment of student outcomes, drawing heavily upon transcript analysis (high school and college) and two surveys with tech prep participants and non-participants. Because of the unique policies and approaches in each site, our data analysis was conducted on a consortium-by-consortium basis, with cross-consortium results presented in the main text in narrative and figures, and supporting tables displayed by consortia in Appendixes A–O. All data presented in this report are maintained in the Community College and Beyond (CC&B) dataset at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), providing a rich source of information for further analysis of students’ transitions from high school to college and work.

Bragg, D. D., Loeb, J. W., Gong, Y., Deng, C.-P., Yoo, J.-s., & Hill, J. L. (2002, November). Transition from high school to college and work for tech prep participants in eight selected consortia. St. Paul, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Minnesota.

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