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

State-Driven Group Releases Next Generation Science Standards

April 11th, 2013

A consortium of states released this week the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a final set of internationally-benchmarked science standards that identify practices and content that all K-12 students should master in order to be college and career ready.

Teams from 26 states worked for 2 years with a writing team to develop the NGSS. The state-driven process was managed by Achieve and was primarily funded by the Carnegie Corporation.

The NGSS are based on a Framework for K-12 Science Education published by the National Academies’ National Research Council in 2011. Rather than focusing solely on practice, the standards also bring a stronger focus to science content and a greater emphasis to critical thinking. The NGSS are research-based and take into account research on how students learn science most effectively – striving for a more holistic, investigative approach to science.

Susan Codere, a project coordinator for NGSS in Michigan, emphasized the importance of preparing students to be both college ready and career ready. Codere said of the NGSS, “Our conversation about education always includes workforce training. Whenever we adopt a new set of standards we make sure to promote the opportunities the standards afford, not just in terms of college readiness, but in terms of workforce readiness. That’s particularly relevant with the NGSS.”

The NGSS can be viewed here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

CLASP Releases Federal Funding Toolkit for Career Pathways Initiatives

April 4th, 2013

CLASP, an organization aiming to improve the lives of low-income individuals, has recently released a comprehensive resource to help state teams identify and use federal resources to support career pathways models.

The Federal Funding Toolkit is comprised of four parts:

Introduction: This introductory document describes the importance of career pathways, defines the term, and explains the relevance of the toolkit.

Using the Toolkit: This document describes who should use the toolkit, how to use it, and an overview of 10 federal programs that could potentially support career pathways.

Funding Options Worksheet: These customizable worksheets list sample tasks to design, implement, and sustain career pathways.

Summary of Federal Programs: Each summary identifies federal programs that relate to career pathways and can be used to support these initiatives. The summaries include information on: type of program, eligibility requirements, type of services or support provided, and an analysis of how the program can support career pathways. Federal program summaries with relevance to Career Technical Education (CTE) include:

View the entire toolkit here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Gordon Commission Report Lays Out 10-Year Vision for Assessment

March 12th, 2013

Following two years of study, the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education released a set of recommendations calling for a more balanced approach to testing in the United States.

“The primary purpose of assessment ought to be to inform and improve teaching and learning,” said Dr. Edmund Gordon, chairman of the commission and emeritus professor at Yale University and Teachers College, Columbia University.

The report also emphasizes the need for more research in the field, particularly around the role of technology in changing what is assessed, how it is assessed and how to make results more useful for teachers and students.

The report includes three recommendations for policymakers:

  • States should create a permanent Council on Educational Assessments modeled after the Education Commission of the States.
  • President Obama and Congress should use the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other federal laws to promote new ideas about assessment.
  • The U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in collaboration with the philanthropic community, non-profit, for-profit sector, professional teacher organizations and universities should commit to a 10-year research and development effort to strengthen the capacity of the nation’s assessment enterprise.

The 30-member Gordon Commission includes scholars, policymakers and practitioners.

Read the full report here.

Report: State Policy Approaches for Incentivizing CTE

February 28th, 2013

Career Technical Education (CTE) has become a top priority in education policy – receiving recognition from governors and members of Congress – because of its relevance to local, state, and national economies.

The Education Commission of the States (ECS), a group that facilitates the exchange of information among state policymakers and education leaders, released this month an issue brief describing how states are depending on CTE to address many issues – such as the skills gap and alignment of education with labor market needs – and what states are doing to incentivize the use of CTE. Some incentives include:

  • “Carrot” policies to encourage high school students to earn CTE credentials or to perform well on WorkKeys
  • “Stick” policies for schools and districts to ensure that CTE students are progressing toward career readiness
  • Development of supports for students at risk of falling short of career readiness

The report also draws attention to the integration of academic and technical courses and content through the Common Core State Standards and the reframing of dual enrollment programs to include CTE.

View the ECS issue brief here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Releases New Papers

February 22nd, 2013

The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, a state-led initiative organized by the Center for Law and Social Policy, has released two working papers to help identify criteria that define high-quality career pathways and to create shared performance measures.

In the first paper, The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Approach: Developing Criteria and Metrics for Quality Career Pathways, a conceptual model is provided of career pathway state and local/regional systems and career pathways programs. The paper defines important terms, provides examples, and describes the Alliance’s approach to creating a framework for quality criteria and performance metrics.

The second paper, A Framework for Measuring Career Pathways Innovation, presents a framework for measurement and looks at key considerations when developing career pathway metrics including:

  • Level of measurement
  • Use of metrics
  • Scope of each measure

The working papers are part of a greater initiative to  identify benchmarks of high-quality career pathways and the most relevant metrics for measuring their success.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

New Report Highlights State Sector Strategies

January 18th, 2013

Sector strategies effectively unite employers from a given industry with other stakeholders – including government, education, training, economic development, labor, and community organizations – to identify and address the regional workforce needs of that industry. Career Technical Education (CTE), which inherently connects education and training with industry needs, is key to the success of sector strategies.

A new report from the National Skills Coalition, the National Governors Association, and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, lays out a snapshot of states’ sector strategies today and actions that policymakers and state leaders can take to create and support sector strategies.

Reviews of the sector strategies show statistical support that this workforce training model improves participants’ employment opportunities and increases their wages. Sector strategies also address the skills gap by focusing resources on industries that align with job providers in the region, encouraging relationships between workforce programs and industry, and increasing alignment of state programs and resources.

More than half of states are considering or implementing sector strategies, and over one thousand sector partnerships across the country are already in place. For state leaders interested in creating or expanding sector strategies in their state, the report also provides suggestions on how to do so despite the current fiscal environment.

The full report can be accessed here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

ED Releases New Provisional High School Graduation Rates

November 29th, 2012

For the first time since all states have adopted a common, rigorous measure for four-year high school graduation rates, the U.S. Department of Education has released preliminary data on how states measured up for the 2010-2011 school year.

The graduation rates and data notes are available on the Department’s website.

Using the new measure, 26 states reported lower graduation rates and 24 states reported unchanged or increased rates for the 2010-2011 school year. However, the new graduation rates are not comparable to those of previous years since a new formula was used.

The top ranking states were:

  • Iowa: 88 percent
  • Vermont and Wisconsin: 87 percent
  • Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas: 86 percent

The lowest ranking states were:

  • New Mexico: 63 percent
  • Nevada: 62 percent
  • District of Columbia: 59 percent

The new graduation rates show state leaders’ willingness to create more uniformity and transparency in reporting these data. Additional information can be found at ED Data Express.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager


November CTE Monthly: Sequestration Could Impact Over One Million CTE Students; Career Readiness Definition Released

November 20th, 2012

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 November edition, read more about:

  • Possible Impact of Sequestration on CTE Students
  • Career Readiness Partner Council Releases Definition of Career Readiness
  • Case Studies of Successful Business-Education Partnerships

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

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Report: “Indispensable” Role of Transfer for Community Colleges

November 2nd, 2012

Recently, the nation’s education agenda has placed considerable focus on increasing college completion rates. While this worthy goal is critical to the country’s economic success, a new report implores the education community not to lose sight of other valuable functions of community colleges, namely transfer, as schools work toward graduating all students.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) released this month an issue brief on the “indispensable” role of transfer for community colleges and students. More than one-quarter of those who earn a bachelor’s degree began their college experience at a community college and transferred to a four-year institution along the way. Nearly half of bachelor’s degree recipients take at least one course at a community college.

Research shows that transfer from a community college to a four-year institution not only works, but also saves money. The AACC brief states that students who start at a community college and transfer to a four-year university are just as successful as those who begin at a four-year institution. For the nine institutions studied in this case, an estimated $22 billion were saved by students who first attended community college first and then transferred.

Part of what makes transfer work, the AACC brief shows, is that the receiving institution prioritizes the success of transfer students. Eighty-two percent of transfer students earn a bachelor’s degree on time when their receiving institution accepted all of the student’s community college credits. When colleges accept some community college credits, forty-two percent of transfer students earned a bachelor’s degree on time.

The AACC brief also takes into account questions to consider as post-completion measures and program effectiveness are evaluated, such as “Should an institution that provides just the last few credits before earning a degree be considered the institution of record for the student’s ultimate ‘success’?”

Click here to access the full report.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager 

Cisco Networking Academy and Cisco NetSpace Support Students

October 11th, 2012

This blog, in coordination with the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting, is provided by one of our sponsors. Our guest blog organization being highlighted today is Cisco Networking Academy.

For 15 years, the Cisco Networking Academy has been partnering with education institutions and governments to equip students for the ICT workforce with an innovative education program that is comprehensive and free to nonprofit institutions. Using technology, hands on activities, simulations and gaming students build 21st century skills, both soft and technical. The program provides a community of support for instructors that includes on-line resources, best practice sharing and professional development. Courses are taught in high schools, community colleges and universities around the world to prepare students for higher education, careers and industry recognized certifications. The program also aligns to U.S. education standards, helping institutions meet STEM, Common Core and grant requirements.

Networking Academy recently announced the new learning platform, Cisco NetSpace™ to better support of instructors and students. This interactive learning environment combines best-of-breed SaaS applications for teaching, learning, and collaboration, all driven by community needs and the latest educational models, trends, and best practices. You can learn more about how Cisco is using innovative technology to support education with the overview in your attendee bag at the event.

To learn more please visit our Web site or e-mail us at [email protected]

Together, we can change the way we learn!

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager