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Summaries of RCT Grants

RCT of career and technical education programs in New York City high schools

This project is a low-cost randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in New York City high schools.

Grant Recipient: New York University

Term: 2017 –2019

Principal Investigator: James Kemple, Ed.D., Research Alliance for New York City Schools

Funding: $149,973

Summary: This project is a low-cost randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in New York City high schools. After considerable growth in its CTE offerings over the past decade, New York City’s Department of Education now oversees the largest and most diverse system of urban CTE programs in the country, with 145 schools offering CTE, 47 of which are dedicated exclusively to CTE. Nationally, CTE programs are widely implemented, serving more than 7.5 million students in the 2013-2014 school year.

This RCT will capitalize on school lotteries that took place between 2008 and 2014, randomly allocating limited 9th grade spots at 70 oversubscribed New York City CTE programs. The study will measure the programs’ impacts on rates of high school graduation as well as postsecondary enrollment and persistence. The total randomized sample includes approximately 52,000 students, whose outcomes will be measured 4 to 10 years after random assignment, depending on what year they participated in a CTE lottery. Outcomes will be measured using administrative data from the New York City Department of Education, the City University of New York, and the National Student Clearinghouse.

This study will provide policy-relevant information regarding the educational impacts of the city’s CTE programs. If feasible, the study will also measure (through an augmentation of the current design) CTE programs’ long-term effects on workforce outcomes such as earnings and employment. This is a particularly important outcome since a prior RCT of career academies (a type of CTE program) found no effects on educational attainment but large, long-term impacts on earnings.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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