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APPENDIX D 45 Summaries of Commissioned Papers WALTER HANEY. "In and Out of High School: Trends in Secondary School Enrollment, Graduation, and Postsecondary Experience." September 1983. This paper reviews trends in enrollment, graduation, and postsecondary experience of students in American high schools; the focus is on secondary education, especially programs with vocational education. A brief history of federal involvement in vocational educa- tion beginning with the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 is provided. Recent experiences relating to course selection, graduation rate, and post- high school choices are presented. Since the employment rate of stu- dents graduating from vocational education programs is shown to be higher, and their attrition rate lower, the retention of vocational education programs is recommended. E. GARETH HOACHLANDER. "Vocational Education in the Nation's Secondary Schools." August 1983. The questions of what is vocational education, who is served, what is accomplished, and what it costs are explored in this paper. Federal encouragement of vocational education has been undertaken at least since the early part of this century to prepare "individuals for paid or unpaid employment." By 1978-79,17 million students were enrolled in such programs, studying agriculture, distribution and marketing, health, consumer protection, home economics, industrial arts, office occupations, technical specialties, and various other trades and indus- tries. Vocational students tend to have lower standardized test scores than those in academic courses; their parents have less formal educa- tion. Statistically grouped, 52 percent of them are female, 75 percent white, 16 percent black, 6 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent other.
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46 APPENDIX D Students graduating from vocational education programs seem to experience less unemployment. In 1978-79, the annual federal con- tribution to these programs was $6.7 billion, $446 for each secondary student enrolled. In its conclusion, the paper discusses federal policy on secondary vocational education and recommends the approach taken in the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982. That measure contains a "permissive planning" clause prescribing certain end re- sults (number of students graduating, those with jobs following graduation, etc.) while also permitting a practically limitless variety of procedures and processes for attaining these objectives. The paper comments that "researchers have generally been unable to establish significant differences between the employment and earn- ing histories of students enrolled in vocational education and those enrolled in the general curriculum." However, "the absence of positive findings does not mean that they do not exist." DENNIS HOULIHAN. "Selected Statistics for Recent High School Gradu- ates." October 1983. In this paper, the general characteristics of young people after high school are examined. Statistical analyses include the characteristics of graduates terminating their education with high school, those who enter military service, and those seeking education beyond high school. Employment opportunities also are summarized. The Bureau of the Census' 1982 Current Population Survey and the National Cen- ter for Education Statistics' survey, High School and Beyond: First Senior Follow-up, were used as source material. STUART A. ROSENFELD. "The Future of Work for the High School Gradu- ate." August 1983. The changing nature of employment is described. The workplace itself is expected to undergo major changes in the next two decades, based on current trends. There will be differences in the availability of jobs, the content of work, and how work will be managed. Demographic shifts will take place; the work force will be older and include proportionally more women and minorities. Service occupations—finance, insurance, real estate, transportation, communications, utilities, and government—will increase while jobs in the manufacturing sector are
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APPENDIX D 47 expected to decline because of automation and the growing number of imports. High-growth industries such as health, computers, and ener- gy will require technical training beyond the high school level. High- demand occupations, however, will be of a low-skill, nontechnical nature. FRANK L. SCHMIDT, JOHN E. HUNTER, and Lois C. NORTHROP. "Cognitive Skill Correlates of Success in the World of Work for Noncollege Gradu- ates." October 1983. The authors write that the nation's educational system should prepare students, particularly those who do not go on to college, for useful, productive, and personally rewarding experiences in the workplace. Citing thousands of studies, they report that certain skills and abili- ties learned in school are directly related to success in job-training programs and later success on the job. Several broad occupational areas—clerical occupations, computer programming, retail sales, law enforcement, foremen, and supervisory positions—are used as illustrations, supported by the results of numerous studies. The re- search findings show that cognitive skills of various kinds typically correlate in the .50 to .60 range with success in job-training programs and in the .35 to .50 range with later performance on the job; this appears to be true of other skills as well. If schools can improve students' knowledge of specific areas—chemistry, physics, mathemat- ics, or electronics—as well as verbal skills—vocabulary, reading com- prehension, or other cognitive skills—improved performance on the job and reduced attrition may be expected to follow.