Like many states, Florida has taken action over the past decade to transform industrial-era “vocational education” into more robust Career and Technical Education (CTE), which integrates academic rigor, employability, and technical skills that are in demand in today’s global marketplace. As more and more schools adopt these technology-based instructions, CTE programs have been increasingly recognized as a valuable teaching method that not only engage students but better prepare them for college and career success. Based on data provided by the Florida Department of Education, a new report from Grunwald Associates LLC, takes a closer look at students who are enrolled in CTE courses involving technology. The research highlights the following positive results:
- Students who completed at least one technology course, and took at least one industry certification exam, had significantly higher GPAs than comparable students. Florida high school students who took at least one technology course had an average GPA of 2.92, compared to an average GPA of 2.55 for students of similar demographics who took no technology classes.
- Students who completed at least one technology course, and took at least one industry certification exam, had significantly higher attendance rates than comparable students. On average, CTE Florida students attended 165.2 days in the 180-day school year while students who took no technology courses or exams attended 148.5 days of school. That amounts to an average of almost 17 more days—or more than three weeks!
Attendance is one way that schools gauge student engagement in learning—and increased attendance can be viewed as a necessary condition for improved GPA. For years, anecdotal evidence has been pointing to positive results when academic programs are matched with engaging career and project-based learning environments. Improved grades and daily attendance are also the key benefits of students who attend Southwest Career and Technical Academy (SWCTA) in Clark County, Nevada. No matter how you look at it, it is clear that Career and Technical Education programs are appearing to help students succeed in school and beyond. For more information and insight, check out the full Grunwald report here.