Career & Technical Education

CTE Studies Boost High School Grad Rates in Oregon

Oregon's statewide four-year high school graduation rate was the highest it's ever been. For the class of 2018-2019, graduation hit 80 percent, up more than a percentage point over the previous year. However, those students who took a career and technical education course or enrolled in a CTE program did even better (88.9 percent and 93.5 percent, respectively). The five-year cohort graduation rate for CTE students was slightly higher: 90.4 percent and 94.4 percent.

The four-year cohort consisted of data on students who first entered high school in 2015-2016. The total number of students in the state was 46,162. The number of CTE "participants" was 31,832; and 19,458 students "concentrated" on CTE. Both groupings have inched over the last four years, the length of time graduate rates have been tracked for CTE-specific cohorts.

CTE received a burst of support from state lawmakers when it committed funding to the development and expansion of CTE programs across the state through a CTE "revitalization grant" program. Funding allocations were based on how many students enrolled in specific programs during the previous school year and earned three or more credits. Programs received extra funding where students have been historically under-served or where they've earned professional credentials recognized by the industry in which they're educated. A new funding schedule began in October 2019. For both rounds, the activities covered by the grants need to have ties to local or regional industry; map to a "high-wage/high-demand career area"; and involve a path "to career and/or postsecondary education and training."

"Every student in Oregon deserves to graduate prepared for lifelong success and with a plan for their future," said Governor Kate Brown, in a statement. "Working together over the last five years, through a commitment to closing opportunity gaps for students in all our communities, we have made steady progress increasing the number of Oregon students completing high school. With the historic reinvestment in education made possible by the Student Success Act, our schools will be further empowered to engage and support Oregon's students in reaching new levels of learning and achievement."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.