The Lynch School of Education and Human Development has been awarded a significant portion of a $1.7 million United States Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences grant to conduct a four-year study of the relationship between student outcomes and career and technical education, or CTE, and teacher preparation and experience, announced Stanton E.F. Wortham, the Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Lynch School.

CTE provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge, and training necessary to succeed in future careers, and to become lifelong learners. Approximately 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation, according to the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus.

The Lynch School shares the grant with lead investigator and Atlanta-based Georgia State University, the University of Tennessee, and the American Institutes for Research, a nonprofit, behavioral and social science research, evaluation, and technical assistance organization based in Arlington, Va. The investigation began last fall.   

Shaun Dougherty

Shaun Dougherty (Peter Morenus)

“CTE Teacher Labor Markets, Attributes and Student Outcomes” examines the challenges school districts face in recruiting and retaining qualified CTE teachers, explained Shaun M. Dougherty, a professor in the Lynch School’s Educational Leadership & Higher Education department, co-principal investigator of the CTE Policy Exchange.  

“Approximately 25 percent of the grant has been allocated to the Lynch School for the examination of data sets of teacher turnover and the characteristics in career and technical education from four states, and how these relate to student program access and outcomes,” said Dougherty, who co-directs the IES-funded CTE Research Network.  “This will be one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of CTE teacher labor markets, and the connection between teachers and student outcomes that has ever been undertaken. By using data from four states, and over a decade of records, we will be able to observe substantial variation in who is teaching, where they are teaching, and how differences across settings influence students’ college and workforce outcomes.”

Dougherty also reported that related Lynch School research includes an ongoing, eight-year project studying the impact of CTE on Connecticut high schools, on students in college and workforce outcomes, and in New York City public schools.  

“We are very pleased that Shaun Dougherty is continuing his important work on career and technical education here at the Lynch School,” said Wortham. “Millions of young people rely on CTE to prepare themselves for careers, and we need the systematic research design and rigorous analysis that he and his colleagues are doing to make this kind of education maximally effective.”

Philip Gloudemans |  University Communications | February 2023