Outcomes of tech-prep and non tech-prep graduates in postsecondary technical college programs
Wilson, Brittney N.
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Major emphasis has been placed on tech-prep programs during the past decade. The most recent national evaluation of tech-prep programs, conducted in 2004, found data on tech-prep student outcomes to be positive. While students are better prepared for both college and the workplace, tech-prep has not been a widely effective strategy for improving student outcomes at the postsecondary level. If tech-prep programs are to maximize the preparation of students for both work and postsecondary education, it is imperative that postsecondary outcomes of high school students graduating from tech-prep programs be examined. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the postsecondary outcomes of tech-prep graduates entering 2-year technical colleges directly from high school after two years of study at the technical college level. Specific measures of student outcomes included indicators of need for mathematics, reading, and writing remediation and successful completion rates from diploma, technical certificate, and Associate of Applied Science Programs. Descriptive statistics were used to describe participants’ gender, minority status, and type of college program pursued. A series of one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedures were used to compare the two groups of students, tech-prep and non tech-prep. A chi-square test was used to measure successful completion rates. The sample for this study was 173 high school graduates from 2002 and 2003 who entered Coosa Valley Technical College in the fall, winter, spring, or summer quarters during 2003. Completion status was determined as of December 2005 to give students sufficient time to complete a diploma, technical certificate, or Associates degree. Of the 173 high school graduates in the study, 73% completed a tech-prep curriculum. Findings of the study suggest that a different high school curriculum does not necessarily better prepare students for entry into postsecondary education. Evidence suggests that tech-prep and non tech-prep students are prepared for technical college programs according to Asset test scores. In terms of successful completion rates, findings suggest that tech-prep and non tech-prep students pursing a diploma, technical certificate, or Associate of Applied Science are equally likely to successfully complete a program of study.