203936 Impact of participation in the School-To-Work program on teen's academic performance and school-based behaviors

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kristina Zierold, PhD, MS , Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Louisville, KY
Savi Appana, MS , Department of Biostatistics, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Henry Anderson, MD , Division of Public Health, Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Madison, WI
The School-To-Work Opportunities Act (STWOA) was passed in 1994 to support high school youth throughout the nation's public schools in transitioning from school to career-focused work. In 2004, 71.8% of public high schools with 12th grade offered work-based learning programs for credit. While the program provides an excellent opportunity for career-based learning, limited information exists on the academic performance and school-based behaviors of students enrolled in the School-To-Work (STW) program.

In May 2003, a questionnaire was administered to the school districts within the five public health regions of Wisconsin. In the participating schools there were 8,085 students, of which 6,810 responded to questionnaire (84% response rate).

Among the 6,810 students responding to the questionnaire; 514 (7.5%) reported being enrolled in the STW program. When compared with non-STW students, STW students were statistically more likely to have a GPA < 2.0 (18% versus 13%, p<0.05); expect not to graduate high-school (9% versus 4%, p<0.05); cut class more than 3 times (36% versus 26%, p<0.05); and be absent without an excuse more than 3 times (40% versus 32%, p<0.05). The significant differences remained when comparing STW students to other-working students.

While the academic trajectory of STW students is different than non-STW students, ideally the school-based behaviors exhibited by the two groups should be similar . Good STW programs should be strengthening academics and enforcing positive school-based behaviors as they allow for the connection between learning and working.

Learning Objectives:
1)Define the role of the School-To-Work program in the US Public School System. 2) Compare the school performance of teens enrolled in the School-to-Work program to other students. 3)Compare school-based behaviors such as attendance, tardiness and class-cutting among teens enrolled in the School-To-Work program with other students.

Keywords: Education, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Conducted the study and was involved in all aspects of the study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.