The Learning that Works Resource Center: A Quick Guide

June 23rd, 2016

resource centerEarlier this week Advance CTE launched the Learning that Works Resource Center, a repository of high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness research and promising policies. The Resource Center is supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co’s New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of Advance CTE, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Strategy Group, and is designed to connect state leaders, policymakers, academics and practitioners alike with a vetted bank of resources from which to learn and expand their knowledge of CTE.

While the Resource Center is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, here are some tips and tricks to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.  

I Want to Learn More about a Topic

The home page features 12 different categories of resources related to CTE. Hover your mouse over a topic tile to see a description of the types of resources included in that category.

Once you’ve settled on a topic to explore, click on the tile to enter the Resource Center and view a list of resources. The most relevant documents will be listed at the top, but you can filter even further by using the “By State” and “By Resource Type” filters at top of the page. Note that the icon next to the resource indicates the resource type: Guide/Tool, Policy or Report/Case Study.

Click on any resource title to read a summary and download the full version of the resource. Related resources are located at the bottom of each resource page, but you can always explore another topic by clicking on the menu to the left.

I Am Looking for a Specific Resource

The Resource Center includes advanced search options to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Start by clicking the “Advanced Search” button at the bottom of the home page to access additional search filters. From here you can search by title, keyword, primary topic, resource type and/or state. Be aware: while this feature allows you to hone in on specific resources, including additional filters limits the search response. You may end up seeing only one or two results.

The “Search by State” and “New Skills for Youth” buttons on the bottom of the home page also allow for further filtering. “Search by State” allows you to identify all resources related to a specific state, which may come in handy if you want to learn more about a program or policy in that state. “New Skills for Youth” includes tools and resources specific to the JPMorgan Chase New Skills for Youth initiative.

I Have Limited Knowledge of CTE but Want to Learn More

Good news – you’ve come to the right place! The Resource Center has all the information you need to become an expert on CTE. If you want to get a broad sense of what other people in the field are reading, click on the “Most Popular” button at the bottom of the home page to view a list of the most frequently visited pages. Otherwise, you may want to start by exploring the 12 topics and narrow down your search from there.

The Resource Center already includes a broad collection of resources spanning a range of topics, states and audiences. All the same, Advance CTE will continue to update the website with high-quality documents that meet the Resource Center criteria for inclusion. If you would like to contribute any resources, you can submit them for review here. If you have additional questions that weren’t addressed above, feel free to reach out to us directly at resources@careertech.org.  


Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Check out the new Learning that Works Resource Center!

June 21st, 2016

resource centerAdvance CTE is excited to announce the launch of the Learning that Works Resource Center! This directory is your destination for high-quality materials focused on Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness. In this Resource Center, you’ll find the reports, guides, tools and analyses of state policies you need to support the development and implementation of high-quality CTE and career readiness programs and policies across and within states.

The Resource Center was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Tools and case studies developed by the partners and other organizations will be added to the Resource Center regularly.

The Resource Center lets your search in a variety of ways. If you’re interested in a specific issue, like data and accountability, you can find all relevant materials sorted topically. If you’re looking for resources to help you roll up your sleeves and focus on implementation, check out the guides and tools.  You can also find tools created specifically for New Skills for Youth. Finally, the Resource Center can help you learn about some promising policies from across the country, like Tennessee’s recent standards revision process.

The materials in the Resource Center have been carefully curated by Advance CTE staff to ensure that remains high quality and useful for you. For a resource to be included, it must:

Learn more about the Resource Center. Have a resource that should be included? Submit it here.

 

CTE Research Review: Youth Employment, Reverse Transfers and More

June 13th, 2016

We are back with another CTE Research Review. In this edition we explore business-facing intermediaries and a new study on reverse transfer students. And below the fold, we feature some studies and stories you may have missed in the last month.

How Intermediaries Create Shared Value by Connecting Youth with Jobs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is out with a new report in its Youth Employment Series titled Talent Orchestrators: Scaling Youth Employment through Business-Facing Intermediaries. The report challenges the notion that employer engagement is only a civic or philanthropic venture and outlines how business-facing intermediaries can create shared value by matching businesses with skilled youth. Already, intermediaries around the country are stepping up to the plate by managing employer demand, equipping youth with professional skills and job-specific training, and facilitating the onboarding process to connect youth with employment opportunities.

Consider STEP-UP Achieve, a career-track youth employment program started by Minneapolis-based intermediary AchieveMpls. The program partnered with the Minneapolis Regional Chamber to develop a curriculum and establish a certification endorsement for youth participants who successfully complete a pre-employment work-readiness program. This program, and others like it, created shared value by both preparing youth for the workplace and providing employers with a signal of job readiness. STEP-UP Achieve has provided more than 8,000 internship opportunities since 2004.

For Reverse Transfer Students, Going Backward Could Be the Best Path Forward

Speaking of alternative pathways to employment, a new research study from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) examines academic and labor outcomes for struggling students who transfer from a four-year to a two-year postsecondary institution (aka “4-2 transfer students”). The study, Do Students Benefit from Going Backward? The Academic and Labor Market Consequences of Four-to Two-Year College Transfer, finds that struggling 4-2 transfer students are more likely to earn a postsecondary credential than similar students who do not transfer. What’s more, these students were no less likely than similar students to earn a bachelor’s degree and had similar earnings and employment rates. The outcomes of the study are promising because they suggest that struggling students can benefit from the flexibility and affordability of transferring to a two-year college without putting degree completion or future employment at risk.

ICYMI

And in case you missed it, here are some other studies and stories making a splash this month:

  • The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) released a series of 11 policy papers about state and federal data policy. The series, Envisioning the National Postsecondary Infrastructure in the 21st Century, highlights recommendations for improving the national postsecondary data infrastructure from a working group of policy experts.
  • A two-page brief from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) examines how states and LEAs can leverage policy opportunities to integrate Career Technical Education (CTE) into their college and career readiness strategies post-NCLB.  
  • Two months after the Lumina Foundation released its April update on college degree attainment, Inside Higher Ed examines how the Foundation’s new method of calculating postsecondary degree attainment, which now factors credential attainment into the total, affects Louisiana’s college completion goal.
  • And if you haven’t already, you should check out The Journal of School & Society’s special issue on The Future of Vocational Education, which shares voices from educators and academics.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

CTE Research Review: Work-Based Learning, Teacher Shortages and Longitudinal Data

May 11th, 2016

In this week’s Research Review, we take a deep dive into New York City’s CTE movement, examine state teacher shortages, and explore strategies and challenges to building longitudinal data systems.

Work-based Learning and Industry Credentials in New York City

The Manhattan Institute released a new report looking at the state of Career Technical Education (CTE) in New York City, titled “The New CTE: New York City as a Laboratory for America.” While the authors largely praise the success of New York City’s instructional CTE programs — which have demonstrated less variable attendance and higher graduation rates — they offer two policy recommendations to further improve the quality and effectiveness of the system:

  • Mandate and fund schools to secure work-based learning opportunities for students. To do this, schools must engage industry partners that continue to treat CTE like a philanthropic endeavor rather than a strategic investment.
  • Improve state processes for certifying CTE teachers and approving industry-recognized credentials to be more flexible and responsive to industry advances and emerging occupations.

How are states responding to teacher shortages?

The Education Commission of the States’ (ECS) new series on staffing policies, “Mitigating Teacher Shortages,” provides an optimistic outlook on the national staffing crisis. The number of schools reporting a vacancy is down 15 percentage points overall since 2000. However, ECS finds there is a struggle to fill positions in hard-to-staff subject areas and in high-poverty, low-achieving, rural, and urban schools. This five-part series examines research on teacher shortages and recommendations from state task forces, finding five common policy interventions to address staffing shortages: alternative certification, financial incentives, induction and mentorship, evaluation and feedback, and teacher leadership. Each brief explores extant research in each focus area and provides state examples and policy recommendations.

Stitching together Longitudinal Data Systems

Two new reports — one from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) and the other from New America — explore how states can align data systems to better track student outcomes after high school.

  • WDQC’s report, “Making the Most of Workforce Data,” highlights best practices from Kentucky, Minnesota and New York, each of which has established linked systems that facilitate data sharing and evaluation to varying degrees. In Kentucky, for example, interagency data-sharing agreements allowed the state to evaluate outcomes for students taking college-level coursework through AdvanceKentucky, providing evidence to increase funding for the program.
  • In “Is Stitching State Data Systems the Solution to the College Blackout?,” Iris Palmer at New America proposes a different solution to the nation’s data sharing woes — a state-based federal data system. She argues that this system, which would be operated by a third party and would only share anonymized data, could build on existing data infrastructure and allow states to examine cross-state student outcomes for more detailed analysis. A pilot project between Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington helped close gaps, uncovering outcomes data for more than nine percent of individuals missing from the labor records in Washington alone.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update

May 3rd, 2016

In May 2014, Achieve and Advance CTE (as NASDCTEc) released Making Career Readiness Count, the first analysis of the ccrcoveruse of career-focused indicators in states’ reporting and accountability systems to increase understanding and catalyze action through guidance and recommendations for states to take steps to ensure that the “career” in their CCR accountability and public reporting system is not an afterthought but rather a powerful lever for success.

This report was timely and influential, cited in the Career Ready Act of 2015, introduced by Senator Kaine, which then became an amendment to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), as well as the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Career Readiness Task Force report, Options and Opportunities: Making Career Preparation Work for Students, which was endorsed by 41 states.

Since the original release of Making Career Readiness Count, two significant events have occurred that are pushing states to take a closer look at their accountability systems to better capture a broader range of college and career readiness outcomes for students: the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now known as ESSA) and the launch of the New Skills for Youth initiative, a competitive grant program, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co, which requires participating states to transform their systems – including state accountability systems –to support high-quality career-focused education for all students.

It is within this environment that Achieve and Advance CTE have partnered again to release How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update. This new report provides state-by-state information on how and which career-ready indicators states are including in their reporting and accountability systems, and highlights promising practices in several states at the forefront of this work. It also raises some important areas for consideration as states begin or refine their focus on career readiness.

Findings in Brief

  • Thirty-four states publicly report and/or include career-focused indicators in their accountability systems, an increase from the 29 states reported in 2014
  • Thirty-two states currently publicly report on at least one indicator of career readiness for high school students, the majority of which report on dual enrollment participation or success or postsecondary enrollment.
  • Twenty states, include some measure of career readiness in their accountability formulas or as bonus points, with dual enrollment participation or success and industry-recognized credentials the most common indicators.
  • Over half of states with career-ready indicators in their accountability systems utilize “meta-indicators” or composite measure of college and career readiness or career readiness that may include components such as AP, IB, or dual enrollment. As a result, it can be very difficult to ascertain how much weight or value career-ready indicators have within states’ accountability systems.

Read How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update and read Making Career Readiness Count for critical background information.

Kate Blosveren, Deputy Executive Director

Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part II)

April 7th, 2016

In Part II, we dive into the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s newest report, “Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes?” Provocative title notwithstanding, the report’s short answer is: Yes.

The report opens with a caveat that CTE is not a meaningful prat of students’ high school experience, and unlike most industrialized countries, it has been chronically neglected by leaders and policymakers.

“American students face a double-whammy: Not only do they lack access to high-quality secondary CTE, but then they are subject to a ‘bachelor’s degree or bust’ mentality,” the report states. “And many do bust, dropping out of college with no degree, no work skills, no work experience and a fair amount of debt.”

But according to data examined by University of Connecticut’s Shaun M. Dougherty, students do benefit from CTE coursework, in particular those course sequences aligned to certain industries. Based on the report’s findings, it calls for policymakers and education leaders across the country to invest more heavily – and strategically – in high school CTE, and to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act and increase federal support for high-quality, labor market-aligned programs that are available and appealing to all students.

The report’s findings will be discussed on April 14 in Washington, DC, and will also be streamed. Register here to hear from the report’s author and Arkansas State CTE Director Charisse Childers, among others.  The study uses the wealth of secondary, postsecondary and labor market data from the Arkansas Research Center to better understand the state of CTE, both of those students who take CTE courses and those who take three or more CTE courses within a career field.

Key findings include:

  • Students with greater CTE exposure are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in a two-year college, be employed and earn higher wages.
  • CTE students are just as likely to pursue a four-year degree as their peers. There was little evidence of “tracking.”
  • The more CTE courses students take, the better their education and labor market outcomes. Among other positive outcomes, CTE concentrators are more likely to graduate high school by 21 percentage points when compared to otherwise similar students.
  • Though white and female students are more likely to concentrate, CTE provides the greatest boost to students who need it most – males and students from low-income families.

The report offers recommendations similar to what has taken place in Arkansas:

  • Examine state labor market projections to identify high-growth industries
  • Offer CTE courses aligned to skills and industry-recognized credentials in these fields and encourage (or require) high school students to take them)
  • Encourage (or require) students take a concentration of CTE courses
  • Support and encourage dual enrollment and make credits “stackable” from high school into college, so that high school CTE courses count toward specific postsecondary credentials

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

fordham

Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part I)

April 7th, 2016

This week, two leading education organizations – the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Trust – have published new research that illustrates how K-12 CTE can and should be used to create meaningful education experiences that prepares students for future success in college and careers. First up, an analysis of high school transcripts to pull back the curtain on college and career readiness.

Meandering toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates

In “Meandering toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates,” Ed Trust finds that while students may graduate high school, too many are leaving with no clear path forward.

For nearly a decade, college and career-readiness for all students has been the foundational rhetoric of U.S. education, but high school transcripts show that this rhetoric didn’t bear out in reality for most graduates in 2013. In fact, fewer than one in 10 recent graduates had taken a foundational set of courses necessary to be both college- and career-ready. Additionally, the data shows that 47 percent of graduates completed neither a college- nor career-ready course of study. The study defined college- and career-courses of study as the standard 15-course sequence required for entry at many public colleges, as well as three or more credits in a career-focused area such as health science or business.

Of those who had completed a course of study, only eight percent in those graduates completed a full college- and career-prep curriculum. Further, less than one-third of graduates completed a college-ready course of study and just 13 percent finished a career-ready course sequence. Because seat-time is not a sufficient indicator of readiness, the report also looks at who in the college- and career-ready cohort, particularly students of color or disadvantaged backgrounds, had also demonstrated mastery of the curriculum. When looking at mastery, an additional 14 percent of graduates fail to meet this benchmark.

Rather than aligning high school coursework with students’ future goals, the report found that high schools are continuing to prioritize credit accrual, which reinforces the idea that high school graduate is the end goal in a student’s educational journey. The report identifies state-, district-, and school-level levers including transcript analysis, master schedule, credit policies and graduation requirements.

To truly prepare students, school structures, culture and instruction must shift to prepare students for postsecondary studies aligned to their career interests, and this can be done without risk of recreating a system of tracking students into prescribed pathways.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

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This Week in CTE

April 1st, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE(S) OF THE WEEK

This week, Advance CTE, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and CCSSO announced the 25 recipients of phase one of the New Skills for Youth grants. Twenty-four states and Washington, D.C. will receive $100,000 six month grants to develop career readiness action plans. In addition to a national press release, many states distributed press releases or were covered in articles including: Oklahoma, Delaware, Montana, South Carolina, Illinois, Utah, Massachusetts and Kentucky.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The Institute for Education Sciences released a variety of new grantee areas in education research, including CTE. Research should address policies, programs and practices that increase career readiness in secondary education students.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

CTE Research Review Part II

March 11th, 2016

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can catch it here. And now a quick look at new papers exploring competency-based education, the value of credentials, and many others!

Competency-based Education

Competency-based education continues to garner the attention of policymakers, educators and the research community. Here are a few new pieces on competency-based education in both K-12 and higher education.

In Case You Missed It:

CTE Research Review Part I

March 10th, 2016

It’s been a while since we’ve brought you an update on relevant research from the field. There’s so much to cover we’ve broken it into two parts.

A Look at Postsecondary Education

From the New America Foundation, researcher Mary Alice McCarthy challenges the artificial distinction between education and training and calls for “upside-down degrees” to reinvent the outdated concept of what the postsecondary education experience can be.

McCarthy offers reforms to state and federal education policies to create this flipped paradigm. She also points to states and institutions that are building pathways to four-year degrees that start with a career-training program. Others are developing “applied” bachelor’s degrees to help students build on and extend their technical expertise.

Other postsecondary-focused research:

  • The New York Federal Reserve has a report taking a closer look at unemployed college graduates and found that those who major in more technically oriented, occupation-specific fields have much lower underemployment rates than their peers in more general fields.
  • Columbia University’s Community College Research Center looks at institutional and state effectiveness in helping students transfer from community college.

Research from the Center for Education and the Workforce

New from Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce (CEW), you can take advantage of their new State Initiative, which is a portal to help states use data more effectively to inform policy and planning around education and careers.

Don’t miss CEW’s other new reports:

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

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