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National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

New Tool Available for State Higher Education Leaders: Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment

November 6th, 2013

The Postsecondary State Policy Network, led by Jobs for the Future (JFF), has released a new tool to find out how well your state is implementing evidence-based policies to build structured pathways and encourage community college completion.
 
State higher education leaders can assess their state’s existing policies and compare them to those advocated by state and national reform leaders with the Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment Tool.

Since 2004, JFF and policy partners across 15 states have developed and codified policies that empower college leaders, enable useful data gathering and analysis, provide students with financial aid access and other non-academic supports, and reward institutions for student outcomes. This tool aims to help higher education leaders facilitate college completion discussions, prioritize needed policy changes, and track policy changes over time.

The Postsecondary State Policy Network is a multistate collaboration committed to advancing state policies that accelerate community college student success and completion.  Also available: you can also sign up to receive Achieving Success, the Network’s newsletter on postsecondary state policy.

For more information about the Structured Pathways and Completion Policy Self-Assessment Tool, please contact Lindsay Devilbiss, Project Associate, Jobs for the Future at [email protected].

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

CTE Research Review

November 5th, 2013

Research Image_6.2013Over the past few weeks, a number of critical reports and research papers came out with wide-spreading implications for Career Technical Education (CTE). Below are summaries of a few that caught our attention.

The Center for Great Teachers and Leaders released 21st Century Educators: Developing and Supporting Great Career and Technical Education Teachers, a new special issue brief focusing on the human capital management policies impacting CTE educators: certification, performance evaluation and professional learning opportunities. The issue brief, which NASDCTEc had an opportunity to review, provides a comprehensive overview of the current policies in place across the country and raises issues for greater consideration as states refine their certification, evaluation and professional development systems. The brief also contains a useful glossary of key terms.

The Center for Education Policy issued Career Readiness Assessments across States: A Summary of Survey Findings, the result of a survey of 46 State CTE Directors on the range of assessments used in their states to measure students’ career readiness and how those assessments are used, which NASDCTEc also had the opportunity to review. Some key findings from the report include:

  • Nearly all (45) of the survey states reported facing challenges in assessing high school students’ career education or their level of career readiness
  • States are more likely to use career readiness assessments for federal accountability than school accountability
  • Most states are using multiple assessments to measure the various facets of students’ career readiness, including the academic, technical and employability skills.

U.S. States in a Global Context: Results from the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study offers an analysis that allows state scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to be compared. In short, the study found that 36 states were above the TIMSS average in mathematics (with only six states lower) and 47 were above the TIMSS average in science for 8th-grade students. While this is heartening, it’s also important to note that Massachusetts was the only state to reach the “high benchmark” rating on TIMSS, defined as “students can apply their understanding and knowledge in a variety of relatively complex situations,” joined by five high-performing countries.

Similarly, in science, eight states (Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin) reached the “high benchmark,” defined as “students can reason with information, draw conclusions, make generalizations and solve linear equations.”

The first of its kind OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills presents the initial results of the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), which evaluates and compares the skills of 166,000 adults from 24 countries. A major component is the direct assessment of key information-processing skills: literacy, numeracy and problem solving in the context of technology-rich environments.

A new report by the Brookings InstituteStandardized Testing and the Common Core Standards: You Get What You Pay For? – explores the (very minimal) impact states leaving either the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers have on the price of those assessments per student. The paper makes a strong case to states to not sacrifice test quality by presumably leaving either consortia, in order to save $10 or $20 per student – a drop in the bucket of an education system that spends more than $10,000 per student annually.

The Hamilton Project, out of the Brookings Institute, released a policy brief on Redesigning the Pell Grant Program for the Twenty-First Century, calling for three major structural reforms to a policy that has largely remained unchanged over the past forty years since it was first launched:

  1. Augmenting the Pell program’s financial support with tailored guidance and support services that have been shown to improve academic and/or labor-market success (which has implications for One-Stop Career Centers);
  2. Simplifying the eligibility and application process to ensure that the program reaches those who need it most;
  3. Strengthening incentives for student effort and timely completion, including providing more flexibility for when and how students earn credits

 

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Resources Available Online

October 29th, 2013

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Fall Meeting last week in Baltimore, Maryland. Many State Career Technical Education (CTE) Directors and other CTE stakeholders were in attendance during the three-day event where a variety of presentations and panel discussions took place on a wide range of topics.

Presentation resources are available online. We are awaiting a few more documents to finalize the collection of all the resources, but in the meantime, please take advantage of the resources now available here.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

September CTE Monthly: CTE Credentials Lead to Big Earnings

September 23rd, 2013

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

In the September edition, read more about:

  • ACTE and NASDCTEc Resources for Navigating Friday’s Perkins Hearing
  • Research Demonstrates that CTE Credentials Lead to Big Earnings—and Parents are Getting the Message
  • Exemplary CTE Programs and Students in Indiana, New Hampshire and New Jersey

View archived CTE Monthly newsletters and other advocacy resources on our Advocacy Tools webpage.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

CTE Research Review: OECD Report Examines Postsecondary CTE in the U.S.

August 8th, 2013

Research Image_6.2013A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) examines strengths and challenges for postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) in the U.S.  The authors identified positive aspects including strong labor market returns on associate degrees and certificates, and the inclusiveness of U.S. postsecondary CTE. Broad recommendations were provided in three key areas – funding for quality, aligning credentials to industry needs, and strengthening transitions into and within postsecondary education and the labor market – and more specific recommendations included:

  • Linking Title IV student aid (Higher Education Opportunity Act) with stronger quality assurance
  • Establishing quality standards for industry certifications
  • Supporting postsecondary transitions more systematically
  • Developing better data
  • Strengthening career counseling
  • Improving use of work-based learning

The U.S. Department of Education also released a background piece on postsecondary CTE that was used to inform the study.

NASDCTEc and the College Board recently partnered on a webinar and issue brief to show the relevance of Advanced Placement® (AP) courses and exams to CTE Programs of Study. The issue brief includes information on each Career Cluster® and potential AP courses and exams that could apply to each area. Students, parents, counselors and teachers may find this document especially useful to help CTE students follow programs of study that lead to college and career readiness and success.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

New Book for State Leaders Highlights CTE and NASDCTEc

July 18th, 2013

The Council of State Governments (CSG), a forum that encourages the exchange of ideas that help state officials shape public policy, releases The Book of States annually to serve as a resource for state leaders and a catalyst for innovation and excellence in state governance. This year, CSG featured an article written by National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) to highlight initiatives that are underway to transform and guide Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across the nation.

The six-page article includes an overview of CTE, the CTE: Learning that works for America® campaign, and Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education. The article also describes current projects that support each principle of the State Directors’ vision for CTE. Lastly, the resource includes a table of CTE State Directors including contact information and Common Career Technical Core participation status as of April 2013.

Access the article on CTE and NASDCTEc here.

The Book of States includes chapters that consist of several articles and in-depth tables and cover the following areas: State constitutions; Federalism and intergovernmental relations; State legislative, executive, and judicial branches; State finance; State management, administration, and demographics; Selected state policies and programs; and State pages.

Read the full The Book of States here.

We encourage you to review the book and use it as a reference tool for accessing relevant, timely information and state comparisons.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

June CTE Monthly: Survey Shows CTE As Rigorous, Relevant

June 26th, 2013

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

In the June edition, read more about:

  • Area CTE Centers Cost-Effectively Conquer the Skills Gap
  • Survey Findings Demonstrate the Effectiveness and Relevancy of CTE For Students
  • Support for the GREEN Act
  • Exemplary CTE Programs and Students in New York, Texas and Utah

View archived CTE Monthly newsletters and other advocacy resources on our Advocacy Tools Web page.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Welcome to the New Blog Series – Common Core State Standards & CTE Roundup

June 3rd, 2013
CCSS LogoWith nearly every state in the country working to implement the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/Literacy, and more and more resources and information being generated by states, districts, schools and education-focused organizations to support implementation, NASDCTEc is excited to launch a new blog series on the Common Core State Standards and Career Technical Education! The blog will feature news and resources that directly impact CTE educators as well as other materials we think are useful to the field.
 

Featured Resources & Tools

Project Lead the Way has created an alignment tool that will allow Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teachers in pre-engineering and biomedical sciences to identify where the PLTW curricula align with the Common Core State Standards for each course.

Student Achievement Partners updated and upgraded their website dedicated to CCSS implementation tools, “Achieve the Core,” with new CCSS-aligned materials and resources for struggling students;  two new professional development modules including PPTs, videos, facilitator’s instructions, and hands-on activities; evidence guides for instructional practice that provide specific guidance for what the CCSS look like in planning and practice; and information on how educators can support the Common Core beyond their school communities.

Aspen Institute created a set of short introductions to the CCSS for parents and other stakeholders.

Governor John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, wrote a letter to the Republican National Committee in support of the CCSS.

CCSS and CTE Update

In May, the GED Testing Service announced that they will be aligning the 2014 GED test to the voluntary College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for Adult Education, recently released by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). GED has been undertaking research efforts over the last few years to better align the high school equivalency test to “college and career readiness” and the decision to use these standards, according to the GED Testing Service, aims to help bridge the gap from high school dropout to middle-skills jobs.

The CCR Standards for Adult Education, commissioned by OVAE, identify a subset of the Common Core State Standards in English/Literacy and mathematics found to be most relevant in preparing adult students for success in higher education and training programs. The standards have been bundled into five grade-level grouping to reflect the levels of adult learning, which cover the full K-12 standards in both content areas.

Updates on Common Core-Aligned Assessments

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
PARCC is launching a Twitter Town Hall series, beginning on June 5 between 6-7 pm ET, utilizing the hashtag #askPARCC. For the full list of the series and their topics and hosts, see the announcement.

PARCC also recently released an updated FAQ and glossary of key terms, both of which can be downloaded here.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Last month, Smarter Balanced released online practice tests to give educators, parents and students a preview of the full assessment system set of come online in 2014-15.  To learn more about the practice tests, see the Smarter Balanced website.

Have a good CCSS-CTE resource to share? Contact us at [email protected]!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

McKinsey Report Outlines Common Elements of Innovative Programs to Close the Skills Gap

May 24th, 2013

The McKinsey Center for Government surveyed 8,000 individuals – from employers to educational institutions to students – to answer one question: how can we close the skills gap? Their results include an examination of more than 100 innovative programs and suggest many strategies already implemented through Career Technical Education (CTE).

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2020 there will be a global shortfall of 85 million high- and middle-skilled workers. Nearly 40 percent of employers find that applicants lack the skills needed for entry-level jobs. And while 72 percent of education providers reported that graduates are ready to enter the job market, only 42 percent of employers and 45 percent of youth agreed. On top of this disconnect, the authors indicate that there is no comprehensive data on skills required for employment or on the performance of specific education providers in building those skills.

The report identifies common elements of innovative and effective programs, many of which reflect aspects of CTE as laid out in Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, including:

  • Educators and employers actively partner to design program and curricula together.
  • The “education-to-employment journey” is treated as a non-linear continuum.

What is needed to close this knowledge and skills gap? Again, the authors suggest improvements that align with the work that many state and local CTE stakeholders are already putting into action:

  • Better data to inform students’ choices and manage performance.
  • Clearer expectations for students.
  • Partnerships between multiple education providers and employers within a specific sector.
  • An organization or institution at a high-level that can work to develop solutions, gather data and identify and disseminate best practices.

Access the full report here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

PARCC Releases New Assessment Blueprints and Test Specifications

May 3rd, 2013

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two consortia creating K-12 assessments that align to the Common Core State Standards, released this week assessment blueprints and test specification documents for their English/language arts and mathematics assessments.

These resources will share insight with educators on how PARCC assessments will reflect and measure the Common Core standards. This understanding would ideally help educators support quality implementation of the standards through teaching and classroom-based assessments.

The consortium is currently trying out exam questions in several states on mathematics (modeling and reasoning) and English/language arts (prose-constructed responses). Next spring, PARCC will carry out a large-scale field test that will include a stratified sampling of schools and students from all 22 participating states.

Read more about progress made by the second assessment consortium, Smarter Balanced, on our blog.

PARCC also recently released a draft accommodations manual that is open for public comment until May 13, 2013. In addition, public comments on PARCC’s draft performance level descriptors can be submitted until May 8, 2013.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

 

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