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Findings: Secondary/High School

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Student Participation in CTE

  • Overall coursetaking in CTE has declined (see figure)
  • Despite an overall decline in CTE credits, coursetaking in areas such as communications and health care have increased (see figure)
  • Students from rural areas and towns earn fewer academic credits and more CTE credits than their city and suburban counterparts (see figure). Two CTE areas—agriculture and natural resources and construction—follow the overall pattern of more credits earned by students in rural areas and towns than by students in cities and suburbs, two other CTE areas show variations across locale, and six CTE areas have no pattern of credits earned across locale. (see figure).

Students' Work-related Attitudes, Influences, and Expectations

  • Most students expect their primary activity for the year after high school to be postsecondary education (see figure).
  • A higher proportion of female than male students expect their main activity to be postsecondary education, whereas a higher proportion of males than females expect their main activity to be work (see figure).
  • Students' expectation for postsecondary education increases as family SES increases, and their expectation for working decreases as SES increases (see figure).
  • Family members and myself are most often reported as the main influence for students' thinking about careers, with school staff less frequently reported as the main influence (see figure).
  • Family members more often were reported as students' main influence for thinking about postsecondary education than for their thinking about careers, while students reported relying on themselves more when thinking about careers than when thinking about postsecondary education (see figure).
  • Students at each socioeconomic status (SES) level most often reported family members and myself as their main influence for thinking about both further education (see figure) and careers (see figure). However, high-SES students reported more often than low-SES students that they were their own main influence, while low-SES students reported more often than high-SES students that teachers or counselors were their main influence.

Students' Career Preparation Activities

  • The counselors of most public high school students report that their school requires a graduation, career, or education plan (see figure).
  • Although 44 percent of public high school students are asked to develop a plan, fewer students submit their plan to their school or review the plan with school staff at least annually (see figure).

Education After High School

Postsecondary enrollment rates: Class of 2004

  • Postsecondary enrollment rates were higher for graduates who earned fewer CTE credits in high school than for graduates who earned more credits, and were higher for graduates who did not concentrate in CTE than for those who did concentrate in CTE (see figure).
  • Postsecondary enrollment rates varied among high school graduates who concentrated in different occupational areas; graduates who concentrated in three areas–computer and information sciences, health sciences, and marketing-enrolled in postsecondary education at rates that were not measurably different from nonconcentrators, and were higher than for concentrators in general (see figure).

Postsecondary enrollment rates: Class of 2004 vs. 1992

  • Postsecondary enrollment rates were higher for the high school class of 2004 than for the class of 1992 (see figure)
  • But postsecondary attainment rates were lower in the more recent cohort than in the earlier cohort. (see figure)

Recent Secondary/High School Publications