Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2187-3340

Document Type

Report

Publication Date

11-12-2021

Abstract

Montana has joined the Career & Technical Education Policy Exchange (CTEx), which is a consortium of researchers and education policymakers studying how state contexts affect participation in high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and student outcomes. Carly Urban, the author of this report, is an associate professor of economics at Montana State University and studies the Montana context.

With fewer than 200 public schools in the state and a median high school size of 681 students, the Montana context represents a more-rural population than other CTEx partner states. Further, every high school student in Montana must complete one credit of CTE to earn their diploma.

Roughly half of Montana high school students are CTE concentrators—meaning they completed at least two credits in a specific career pathway—and that rate has remained consistent for the graduating classes of 2009 through 2016. Male concentration rates consistently outpace female concentration rates. Similarly, students in more-rural areas of the state are more likely to concentrate in CTE than students in more-populated areas of the state. A combination of the two groups shows that female students in less-populated areas of the state are equally likely to concentrate in CTE as male students in more-populated areas. Female concentration rates in Montana are higher than male CTE concentration rates in other CTEx partner states. Differences in CTE concentration based on race and ethnicity are negligible.

CTE concentration has important implications for future success. In Montana, students who concentrated in CTE were more likely to graduate high school than non-concentrators. This advantage in high school graduation rates was larger for students in special education and students living in more-rural areas. Overall, both the benefits and the demand for CTE (particularly in the more-remote areas of the state) are high in Montana

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