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|REL 2021050||Examining high school career and technical education programs and the postsecondary outcomes of career and technical education students in the Round Rock Independent School District
This study investigated the percentage of Round Rock Independent School District (ISD) graduates from 2012/13 through 2017/18 who completed one or more career and technical education (CTE) programs of study and attained outcomes after high school graduation including college enrollment, degree or certificate attainment, and employment. The study also examined the alignment of CTE programs of study in Round Rock ISD and 41 other Central Texas districts with high-wage, in-demand career pathways in Central Texas, and the percentages of graduates who completed programs of study aligned with those high-wage, in-demand career pathways. The study used longitudinal student-level administrative high school, postsecondary education, and employment data, as well as Texas labor market information. The percentage of Round Rock ISD students who graduated with one or more CTE programs of study increased substantially across the six graduating cohorts to 47 percent for the 2017/18 cohort. More than 80 percent of Round Rock ISD CTE graduates from each cohort enrolled in two- or four-year colleges or were employed within one year of high school graduation. Seventy-six percent of 2015/16 through 2017/18 Round Rock ISD CTE graduates completed course requirements in the 13 programs of study aligned with regional high-wage, in-demand career pathways in the Central Texas labor market. Round Rock ISD leaders could use findings to encourage participation in CTE by all student groups. They also could use the results regarding CTE programs of study completed by graduates and the alignment of those programs to high-wage, in-demand career pathways in Central Texas to refine the CTE programs of study offered. To encourage postsecondary enrollment and completion, Round Rock ISD leaders could demonstrate for students and families which colleges and universities in the region have credentials in high-wage, in-demand programs of study. Finally, findings from the study provide information to inform Round Rock ISD leaders as they consider opening a CTE high school. Expanding CTE through an additional high school may expand opportunities for students to enroll in postsecondary education and engage in occupations related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
|REL 2021049||Why school accountability systems disproportionately identify middle schools' SWD subgroups for TSI
The purpose of this study was to understand why middle schools in two mid-Atlantic states were apparently disproportionately identified for targeted support and improvement (TSI) based on the performance of their students with disabilities (SWD) subgroups. The study used publicly available data to examine differences across school levels – elementary, middle, and high – and between all students and SWDs. It is relevant to compare all students to SWDs because accountability systems designate TSI schools as those with subgroups of students that perform poorly relative to all students. The study focused on two aspects of school accountability systems: (1) the number of schools in each school level in which enough SWDs took state assessments for the school to be held accountable for the academic proficiency of its SWD subgroup, and (2) the average performance on accountability indicators, by school level and subgroup. In both states, SWDs in middle schools were over 20 percentage points more likely to take state assessments than were SWDs in elementary or high schools, meaning that middle schools’ SWD subgroups were substantially more likely to meet states’ minimum sample size requirements for including academic performance in accountability scores. Also, SWD subgroups across school levels consistently performed worse than all students on academic proficiency accountability indicators. Taken together, these findings suggest that middle schools’ SWD subgroups are more likely than elementary or high school SWD subgroups to be identified for TSI because their accountability scores are more likely to include academic proficiency indicator scores – which tend to be substantially lower than the all students group’s academic proficiency indicator scores. This research suggests that when designing school accountability systems, state education agencies may wish to consider how sample size affects estimates of subgroups’ performance, and in particular how sample size exclusions may mask poor performance for small subgroups.
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