What’s Next? A Study of the Effectiveness of a College, Career, and Military Readiness Program on Economically Marginalized Students



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Background: This study examined the effectiveness of a school district’s College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR), Career and Technology Education (CTE) pathways program. The study focused on the archival outcomes of students who entered the district’s high school during the 2016-2018 school years and were anticipated to graduate during the 2020-2022 school years. This quantitative research study examined each student’s performance in areas of post-secondary readiness who were enrolled as participants in the CTE pathways program and compared their outcomes with those for students who were not formally enrolled in the program. Purpose: The goal of the research study was to determine the extent to which student participation in the CCMR CTE pathway program impacted student standardized test results on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) End-of-Course (EOC) exams and college entrance exam participation. Also, the researcher seeks to identify the extent that participation in these programs had on student’s choice of graduation endorsement, acceptance into post-secondary programs, and the rate of college acceptance and technical training certificate attainment. To further explore the impact and effectiveness of the CTE pathway program on student post-secondary readiness the researcher analyzed student outcomes by demographic information such as student gender, race, income, first language, and special education status. Method: The research was conducted using archival data provided by a school district in Southeastern Texas located in the Gulf of Mexico region. The research study consisted of a descriptive design element that focus on the extent that participation in the College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) Career and Technology Education (CTE) pathways programs had on student post-secondary readiness indicator and outcomes. The participants of the study consisted of students enrolled in a South Texas rural school district located near the Gulf of Mexico that entered high school during the 2016-2018 school years with anticipated graduation years of 2020-2022. The student enrollment data was used to further examine not only the independent variable, student participation in the CCMR CTE pathway program, but also student demographic data, to determine the extent that the independent variable had on the dependent variable results (EOC results, college entrance exams participation, post-secondary program acceptance, and college admittance and/or training certificate attainment). Results: Student within the graduation cohorts studied participated in a Southeastern Texas high school’s CCMR program. It was found that as the district transitions to a more inclusive CCMR program the impact on state assessments and college entry exams were approximately at or above the state passing rate. However, the district is experiencing a local decline in STAAR EOC scores, ACT, SAT, and TSI scores across the board. This trend was also observed in the area of student enrollment in a Texas Institute of Higher Education, as well as students being college, career and/or military ready. Most students in the CCMR CTE pathway program had not yet selected the graduation endorsements. Of the students who had made a graduation endorsement selection, all but one student had selected the multidisciplinary endorsement along with one to two others. The extent to which race, gender, grade level, economically marginalized status, special education status, and limited English proficiency impacted State and college readiness assessments, student graduation endorsements selections, and enrollment into post-secondary education. These demographic based results aided in the identification of actions that could be taken by the district to aid in a specialized student needs based CCMR CTE pathway program. Conclusion: This study supports research and state initiatives that focus on the need for district accountability and student efficacy in the area of post-secondary college, career, and military readiness. Within the district studied, it consistently met the state average in various components of CCMR criteria indicating post-secondary readiness. However, criteria indicating College, Career, and Military Readiness within the district has declined when comparing student performance and pathway participation year-over-year. Therefore, it is evident that improvement should be made to the CCMR CTE pathway program to ensure the number of students that are considered to meet CCMR criteria within the district begins to increase. The district will need to focus effort on building student knowledge and ownership of their post-secondary readiness goals. This will lead to an increase in readiness of historically minoritized and economically marginalized students who are most at risk, within the district, for not meeting CCMR criteria. An action plan was developed for the district to focus on improving CCMR knowledge and accountability within the district.



College, Career, And Military Readiness, Career and Technology Education, Career and Technology Education pathway program, Pathway program, Post-secondary readiness, State assessment, State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness End of Course, Historically minoritized, Economically marginalized, First language, Limited English Proficient, And special education status