Research

ACSESS: Adapted Collaborative Strategies for Evaluating Students' Strengths

Creating Career Connections: A Longitudinal Study of Student Enrollment and Outcomes of Career and Technical Education

Creating Pathways to IT Careers through High School Career and Technical Education Programs

National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC)

National Transition Alliance (NTA)

School-to-Work Connections: Nontraditional Career Opportunities for Females With and Without Disabilities


Taxonomy for Transition Programming

Transition-Related Competencies

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School-to-Work Connections: Non-traditional Career Opportunities for Females With and Without Disabilities


Project Summary

The School-to-Work Connections Project is a four-year research project funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs to Western Michigan University. The Illinois State Board of Education is a project partner.

The purpose of the project is to investigate the occupational education experiences of high school students in Illinois. In particular, this research focuses on exploring similarities and differences in program enrollment and completion of male and female students and students with and without disabilities. With respect to these students, analyses also focus on students’ ethnicity, geographical location, and kind of school attended and the influence these factors have on enrollment and completion.

This research utilizes data collected by the Illinois State Board of Education, which includes information regarding all students in Illinois enrolled in high school career and technical education programs. Currently, data from 1996 through 2000 have been compiled and analyzed; 2001 data will be included in the near future. Analyses focus on providing a “snapshot” of student enrollment for each year, as well as patterns of cohort enrollment across years. Four studies are included in the research. Each study includes questions regarding whether student, school, or geographical factors influence the outcomes. The four studies focus on the following topics:

Context: The characteristics of students enrolled in CTE and the context in which they enroll.

Enrollment: Student enrollment in orientation and training level programs, and specifically in programs considered nontraditional for their gender.

Program Completion: Student completion of their programs of study, including nontraditional programs.

Work-based Learning: Student participation in cooperative education experiences, including non-traditional occupations.

Project staff are working with the Illinois State Board of Education, as well as other organizations focused on disability and gender issues, to extend the research and disseminate the findings.

 

Context of Vocational Education

Proportions of students with disabilities in vocational education are similar to the general school population.

Proportions of students in disability classifications enrolled in vocational education are similar to the general school population.

Most students who take vocational education attend high schools.

 

Enrollment

Enrollment in training level programs

  • Is similar for males and females
  • Is similar for females with and without disabilities.
  • Appears to be increasing slightly.
  • Varies considerably for females of different ethnicities.
  • Varies considerably for students in different kinds of schools.
  • Occupations vary significantly for students with and without a disability.

Enrollment of females in nontraditional programs

  • Occurs at a very low rate
  • Is similar for females with and without disabilities.
  • Is similar for females of different ethnicities.
  • Appears to be somewhat stable across years.
  • Varies considerably across regions for the state.
  • Varies slightly among different kinds of schools.
  • Occupations vary significantly for students with and without a disability.

 

Completion

Student completion of training level programs

  • Occurs at a moderately high level.
  • Is somewhat stable across years.
  • Is similar for males and females.
  • Varies considerably for females with and without disabilities.
  • Varies considerably for females of different ethnicities.
  • Varies considerably for females enrolled in different kinds of schools.
  • Occupations vary significantly for students with and without a disability.

Female students' completion of nontraditional training level programs

  • Occurs at a slightly lower rate than for those in "gender-neutral" prgrams.
  • Is somewhat stable across years.
  • Varies only slightly for females with and without disabilities.
  • Varies only slightly for females of different ethnicities.
  • Varies considerably across regions of the state.
  • Is similar in high schools and vocational centers.

 

Cooperative Education Experiences

Student participation in cooperative education

  • Is greater for females than males (approx. 5% per year).
  • Is significantly greater for students with disabilities.
  • Varies significantly for students of different ethnicities.
  • Varies considerably across regions of the state.
  • Is similar in high schools and vocational centers.

Student participation in nontraditional co-op experiences

  • For females, occurs at a very low rate (<2%).
  • Is more likely for males with a disability.
  • Varies slightly across different regions of the state.
  • Varies slightly in high schools and vocational centers.
  • Occupations vary significantly for students with and without a disability.

 

Questions for Practice & Future Research

How do opportunities vary for

  • male and female students?
  • students of different ethnicities?
  • students with and without disabilities?

What barriers exist that limit students' opportunities?

How do we assist students in making career and technical education program choices?

How can secondary nontraditional programs and services be retooled to promote student success?

What strategies do counselors and teachers use to recruit and support students in career and technical education programs, particularly programs nontraditional for their gender?

Do students have the supports they need to complete their programs?

How do we assist students in making employment choices?

How do federal, state, and local policy changes affect student enrollment and outcomes of career and technical education?

How do specific services affect student opportunities and outcomes of career and technical education?

Powerpoint Slide Presentation

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Copyright © 2006 Paula D. Kohler, Ph.D.
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Last Updated December 20, 2006