Equity in Secondary Career and Technical Education in the United States: A Theoretical Framework and Systematic Literature Review

Elisabeth Kim, Clare B Flack, Katharine Parham, Priscilla Wohlstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Career and technical education (CTE) has become increasingly popular in U.S. secondary schools, but equity has not always been a focus of federal legislation or state and local policies and programs. This literature review of trends in CTE research between 1998 and 2019 uses a novel equity frame- work to examine whether and how secondary CTE programs affect educa- tional equity. A total of 123 sources were reviewed. Findings revealed that CTE research most commonly addresses access and participation, measured by high school graduation rates and GPA. Few studies disaggregate outcome measures by student subgroups to better assess equity. Furthermore, a dearth of large-scale, comparative, and longitudinal research limits generalizabil- ity. Most extant research on secondary CTE programs in the United States examines a single state, district, or school. This article identifies promising policies and practices for enhancing equity in CTE conveyed by extant lit- erature and recommends important directions for future research.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalReview of Educational Research
StatePublished - Feb 22 2021


  • equity
  • vocational education
  • high schools


  • Education

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