Academic achievement of economically disadvantaged African American students in secondary career-technical education
Blackburn, Meredith Ann
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Clarke County, Georgia, has a higher average number of students who do not complete high school than for the state of Georgia as a whole. Only 70.1% of the 834 eligible students in Clarke County earned a high school diploma in 2010. It is noteworthy that almost 60% of the students in Clarke County high schools are African American and more than 70% are economically disadvantaged. Only 69.5% of students in the economically disadvantaged subgroup and 64 % of African American students graduated (Georgia Department of Education, 2010a). The purpose of this causal comparative study was to compare the academic achievement of 11th grade economically disadvantaged African American students based on gender and CTE concentration completion status. Academic achievement was determined by scores from the state of Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) in mathematics and English language arts (ELA) using eighth-grade Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) in mathematics and ELA as covariates to adjust for academic achievement levels prior to CTE exposure in high school. Statistical procedures used for this study were Pearson’s correlation coefficient to determine if a correlation existed between CRCT scores and GHSGT scores and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to compare academic achievement in mathematics and ELA, as measured by the Georgia High School Graduation Tests, for economically disadvantaged African American students based on the interactive effects of CTE concentration (completion versus non-completion) and gender. Results showed a high correlation between the eighth and 11th grade tests. There were no statistically significant interactive effects of CTE and gender; however, the main effect results demonstrated that males demonstrated more growth in mathematics than females in high school. Conclusions can be made that CTE may serve as a catalyst for achievement but there are multiple factors that need to be considered especially when at-risk groups are involved.