What's in a Pathway?
Is a "career pathway" essentially the same thing as the career and technical (CTE) "program of study" defined by the federal Perkins Act? Or should a pathway also include other elements such as academic courses braided with the CTE sequence, work-based learning (WBL), and student supports? These questions have been the subject of energetic discussion in California and elsewhere. A new paper on the CCASN website informs this discussion by summarizing existing evidence on how different kinds of pathways affect outcomes for students. The paper
- reviews recent policy commitments to prepare students for “college and careers”;
- explains how integrating college and career preparation solves a long-standing dilemma for high schools;
- summarizes evidence on student benefits from integrated pathways that blend college and career coursework with work-based learning (WBL) and student supports;
- reviews evidence on high school CTE, which indicates that a CTE sequence by itself does not produce as much benefit for students as pathways that combine CTE with college-prep coursework along with WBL and student supports; and
- concludes that extra effort to implement integrated pathways can be justified by the additional benefits for students.