Publication Date

July 2004


This paper measures the impacts of tougher graduation requirements on course taking patterns, learning, college attendance and post high school labor market outcomes for vocational concentrators and non-concentrators. Our main goal was to assess whether vocational education students were specifically affected (positively or negatively) by the policies heavy emphasis on the academic part of the high school curriculum. Our results show how requiring higher number of academic credits to graduate and introducing a Minimum Competency Exams help high school graduates to be more successful in the labor market, but reduce their chances of obtaining a college degree. Vocational concentrators are better off in MCE states. The positive signal they sent to employers reinforces the occupational skills vocational concentrators possess.


Suggested Citation
Bishop, J. H. & Mane, F. (2004). Raising academic standards and vocational concentrators: Are they better off or worse off? (CAHRS Working Paper #04-12). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.