A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

Tech Courses Boost High School Grad Rates

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Every year in the United States, more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school, and about a quarter of high school freshman fail to graduate on time. Now, a new study shows the type of courses kids take could keep them in school for the long haul.

Every 26 seconds a student in the U.S. drops out of high school, but could changing the classes they take turn this statistic around? Using nationally representative data, researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara found that high schoolers who took career and technical education courses were less likely to drop out of school and more likely to graduate on time. This study is the first to examine the timing of tech courses, and it found that the link was stronger if the students took tech courses later in high school during their junior and senior years.

Tech classes allow students to combine real world skills, career training, and academics. Courses might focus on fields such as finance, marketing, technology, engineering, business management, agriculture, and more. The goal is to customize each student’s classes based on their interests, and, as an added bonus, it might also keep them in school until graduation day!

While this study did show an improvement in high school dropout rates among students who took tech courses, there was no evidence that the courses boosted college enrollment.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

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