Status of Secondary Vocational Education

Article excerpt

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and MPR Associates, Inc. (MPR) will soon publish an update to the report Vocational Education in the United States: 1969-1990, which will contain the most recent national data on issues related to vocational education. These two pages highlight findings for secondary vocational education from some of the data to be included in the new publication.

*COURSEWORK TRENDS: 1982-1992

Between 1982 and 1992, the average number of credits public high school graduates earned in academic subjects rose, while the average number of credits earned in vocational education fell. During this period, academic coursetaking was up by 22 percent and vocational coursetaking was down by 17 percent.

*CURRICULUM SPECIALIZATION

Only a few 1992 public high school graduates (8 percent) were vocational "specialists."(a) In contrast, about one-third (32 percent) specialized in the college prep curriculum. A majority of graduates (60 percent) failed to meet the criteria for either the college prep or vocational specializations.

*OCCUPATIONAL PROGRAMS WITH THE LARGEST GENDER GAPS

Among 1992 public high school graduates, men were more than twice as likely as women to have completed at least one course in agriculture (14 percent compared with 5 percent) and trade and industry (54 percent compared with 16 percent). On the other hand, women were more than three times as likely as men to have completed at least one course in occupational home economics (17 percent compared with 5 percent). Women were also twice as likely as men to complete courses in health.

*SPECIAL POPULATIONS PARTICIPATING IN OCCUPATIONALLY SPECIFIC COURSES

Among 1992 public high school graduates, members of special populations generally completed more occupationally specific courses than did other graduates. Students who had accumulated more remedial credits, were disabled, came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and had lower grade point averages earned greater numbers of occupationally specific credits than did other students. …