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

The Common Career Technical Core, Programs of Study & Industry-Based Standards

July 30th, 2014

Yesterday, NASDCTEc released a new paper - The Common Career Technical Core, Programs of Study & Industry-Based Standards - during a webinar. Leveraging the methodology used to compare over 45 states’ CTE standards to the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) last year for The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of State CTE Standards, this new paper examines how a set of 18 industry-based standards match up to the CCTC, with deep implications for state and local development of standards-based programs of study.

Critically, as we state in the paper, “The intent of this analysis is not to judge any industry-based standards…rather the intent is provide actionable information to state and local CTE leaders as think through how they use industry-based standards within the context of a program of study.”

What Did We Find?

For one, the industry-based standards, on average, were not particularly well aligned with the CCTC. However, this was largely as expected based on scope and design of the CCTC compared to most industry-based standards. The CCTC are benchmark standards that identify what a student should know and be able to do after completing a program of study. As “benchmark standards,” the CCTC are intentionally broad; as “end of program of study standards,” the CCTC cover the full range of knowledge and skills to be imparted over a sequence of courses, from the broadest career exploration to the more occupationally-specific skills. Alternatively, most industry-based standards focus squarely on those occupationally-specific skills, leading to a disconnect between them and the CCTC.

We also found that the majority of industry-based standards did not, on average, address the 12 Career Ready Practices, which are the cross-cutting skills and dispositions necessary for any individual in the workplace. Perhaps the most surprising finding was that less than half of the industry-based standards fully aligned to such Practices as “communicate clearly, effectively and with reason” and “work productively in teams while using cultural/global competence,” which are so highly demanded in today’s economy.

However, the analysis showed that many of the industry-based standards reviewed did align well with the Career Pathway-level standards, which are the most specific standards within the CCTC. Additionally, industry-based standards developed by consortia, such as the National Council for Agriculture Education and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, were much  more likely to address both the Career Cluster and Career Pathway-level standards.

What Are the Implications?

The bottom line is that industry-based standards play an important role in preparing students for careers, but that they cannot alone make up a program of study as they often fail to address the broader career exploration skills, as well as those key cross-cutting or “employability” skills that have utility in any career. As state leaders and other stakeholders develop, review and/or approve programs of study, they must:

  • Ensure the standards not only address the key occupationally-specific skills, but also those addressed at the Career Cluster level, as well as the Career Ready Practices, and
  • Provide guidance to local leaders and educators on how to implement the various sets of state and industry-based standards available and build out a coherent sequence of courses and learning experiences aligned to those different standards.

Read the full report here, watch the webinar recording or download the webinar PPT.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director, NASDCTEc

NASDCTEc and ACTE Release Report on Developments in CTE

March 28th, 2014

NASDCTEc and ACTE wrapped 2013 by conducting an extensive poll to track developments in CTE state by state. The report, “State Policies Impacting CTE: 2013 Year in Review” contains several key findings indicating that CTE Picture6has not only weathered the storm of tight budgets and shifting education policy, it has thrived in most states.

Crucially, 47 states and the District of Columbia were found to have taken action on CTE in 2o13, many with multi-year initiatives to shake up the structure and practice of CTE in their state. 31 states increased funding to CTE programs in the last year, and multiple governors have already conveyed an interest in expanding funding and access further in 2014.

The report features a state-by state breakdown of policy developments, as well as an overall summary. Check the table (right) for more details and read the whole report at the link above!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

NCES Publishes Projections of Education Statistics to 2022

February 27th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013Earlier today the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published its annual Projections of Education Statistics report . The forty first edition of the survey provides statistics on educational enrollments, graduates, teachers, secondary education expenditures, and similar information at the postsecondary level. The report is based on data obtained by NCES over the past fourteen years and provides forecasts to the year 2022. Findings from the report which may be of interest to the CTE community:

  • Enrollments in public elementary and secondary schools increased by 7 percent between 1997 and 2011 and are projected to increase an additional 7 percent between 2011 and 2022.
  • The total number of public high school graduates increased by 28 percent between 1997–98 and 2009–10 and is projected to grow by an additional 1 percent by the 2022–23 school year.
  • Expenditures for public elementary and secondary education, in constant 2011-12 dollars, increased by 37 percent between 1997-98 and 2009-10 school years. This figure is expected to grow by an additional 27 percent by the 2022-23 school year to a total of $699 billion.
  • Total enrollments in postsecondary degree-granting institutions increased 45 percent from 1997 to 2011 and are projected to increase by 14 percent by 2022.
  • The total number of associate’s degrees awarded increased by 69 percent between the 1997-98 and 2010-2011 school years— that number is expected to increase by an additional 49 percent by the 2022-23 school year.

The full report, including methodology and supplemental information, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

New NASDCTEc Paper & Webinar: CTE Is Your STEM Strategy

December 17th, 2013

Today the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) released a new policy paper entitled CTE Is Your STEM Strategy, exploring the inherent relationship between CTE and STEM goals, elements and expectations.

Simply put, STEM must not be viewed as a separate enterprise from CTE. While a state’s CTE programs may not encompass everything within a state’s STEM strategy, high-quality CTE programs can provide a strong foundation for and serve as a delivery system of STEM competencies and skills for a broader range of students. Too often, STEM strategies are created separately from and without a clear understanding of how CTE can support and strengthen such efforts. This paper aims to bring this disconnect to the forefront and demonstrate the natural connection for the many stakeholders working to advance CTE and STEM in their communities.

Looking ahead, state and local leaders should work collaboratively to identify where CTE is delivering high-quality STEM skills and competencies successfully, where efforts need to be shored up, and how to best scale those programs with the greatest value to students, employers and our nation.

The paper was released during a webinar featuring Tina Marcus, Project Manager, STEM Education and Leadership, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; Dr. Tony Baldwin, Superintendent of Buncombe County Schools in North Carolina; Dr. Linda Rosen, CEO of Change the Equation; and Kate Blosveren, NASDCTEc’s Associate Executive Director.

Click here to download CTE Is Your STEM Strategy and access the recording and slides from the webinar here.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

College Board & PDK Publication Examines Benefits of CTE

October 31st, 2013

Last month the College Board, in conjunction with Phi Delta Kappan (PDK), released an article extolling the virtues of Career Technical Education (CTE) and how best to ensure quality and access to it across the nation. Written by Jean-Claude Brizard, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and Senior Advisor at the College Board, the article titled Toward a Common Model of Career-Technical Education, highlights the positive impact CTE programs had on three students who each took different pathways to academic and professional success. It later expands on their individual experiences and argues that these success stories are increasingly becoming the norm for students who choose to enroll in CTE programs— an encouraging trend considering  94% of all high school students in the U.S. take at least one CTE course. Brizard identified three core components for what he termed “great CTE” programs:

  •  Relevant and rigorous curriculum that leads to an independently recognized and validated credential
  •  High quality teachers who have the content knowledge & technical expertise within the area they are teaching
  •  Ample opportunities for work-based learning and experiences

The author asserts that CTE offers, “the greatest opportunity for multiple entry and exit points,” and notes  that, “Students may exit the educational experience with an industry credential, go to work, and then re-enter at a later time to stack a credential on ones previously earned.” This is an important feature of many CTE programs and one that is not lost on students who must compete in a rapidly evolving global economy. More than ever before, new technologies are changing the nature of the workplace and CTE is one of the best ways to equip students with the skills necessary to stay competitive and relevant.

However, Brizard does contend that CTE suffers from a slight perception problem with some students and parents. Despite studies indicating that two-thirds of new jobs in the United States will require at least some form of postsecondary education—half of which are expected to go to candidates with an associate’s degree or occupational certificate— some families still view CTE from the vantage point of, “a 1950s economic model in which a large percentage of occupations required unskilled labor.” Brizard dispels this notion without qualification and argues that CTE prepares students both for college and careers, invoking the experiences of many of his CTE students who went on to college and even advanced degrees.  He also pointed out that 27 percent of workers with postsecondary licenses or certificates earn more than the average B.A. recipient– a fact which runs counter to the notion that a college degree is the only pathway into a high-wage career.

Brizard also identifies the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as a primary component to ensuring quality and rigor in education. He goes on to argue that similar standards should be applied to CTE and he was supportive of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium’s (NASDCTEc) recent efforts to develop the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), a set of state-developed, common, program-level standards for CTE programs. These standards are critical to ensuring quality and access to CTE programs throughout the United States. According to Brizard the CCTC represents, “the highest academic and industry standards” which, “successfully serves both education and industry sectors.”

The full publication can be found here and a recent NASDCTEc webinar in which the College Board participated can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

UNESCO Releases Report on Global Trends in TVET

October 18th, 2013

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently published a digital volume of essays encompassing a broad swath of current practices, trends, debates, and ideas in the field of technical and vocational education and training (TVET). At its core TVET is the global terminology used to describe much of what the United States labels as CTE. According to UNESCO TVET is concerned primarily with, “the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the world of work.”UNESCO

Titled Revisiting Global Trends in TVET: Reflections on Theory and Practice, this e-publication was produced by UNESCO’s International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC) at a time when global policymakers and stakeholders are becoming increasingly aware of the importance and value of TVET programs around the world. This global appreciation culminated with the 3rd International Congress on TVET which took place in Shanghai in May of last year. At its core TVET is the global terminology used to describe much of what the United States labels as CTE. According to UNESCO TVET is concerned primarily with, “the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the world of work.”

This international meeting provided a forum for discussion about the future trajectory of TVET and the challenges UNESCO member states and TVET stakeholders face. What resulted from this forum was a set of policy recommendations, known as the Shanghai Consensus, which put forward seven overarching principles for how to promote and better implement TVET programs worldwide. They were:

  • Enhancing the relevance of TVET
  • Expanding access and improving quality and equity
  • Adapting qualifications and developing pathways
  • Improving the evidence base
  • Strengthening governance and expanding partnerships
  • Increasing investment in TVET and diversifying financing
  • Advocating for TVET

These broad-based recommendations echo many of the core principles found in NASDCTEc’s vision paper Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education and put them into a larger global context. To that end, the set of essays contained in the UNESCO publication seeks to further develop, explain, and more fully realize the doctrine set forth in the Shanghai Consensus.

Please check our blog over the next few weeks as we examine in further detail specific chapters within this e-publication.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate

Resources Now Available for Advanced Placement® Across the Career Clusters® Webinar July 25 Broadcast

July 26th, 2013

Resources are now available for the July 25 webinar: Advanced Placement® Across the Career Clusters®.

PrintTraditionally Advanced Placement® (AP) courses and exams have not been recommended for students in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. To bust this myth, NASDCTEc and the College Board worked together to draft a document – Career and Technical Education and Advanced Placement – that shows how AP courses and exams can be relevant to a student’s program of study across the 16 Career Clusters®.

This webinar featured that work, explored how AP courses and exams are being embedded in students’ programs of study at the local level, and engaged participants around additional strategies for including AP courses and other rigorous courses within CTE Career Pathways.

When:  Thursday July 25 at 3 p.m. ET and featured the following speakers:

  •  Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director, The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)
  • Barbara Dittrich, Program Supervisor, Advanced Placement, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Tom Evans, Principal, Eastern Technical High School, Baltimore County, Maryland
  • Betty Klattenhoff, CTE Director, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Wanda Monthey, Senior Director, Career Readiness and CTE, The College Board

Webinar Recording

Power Point of webinar in PDF format

Accompanying brief Career and Technical Education and Advanced Placement

Ramona Schescke, Member Services 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

CTE Research Review: New Georgetown Report Projects Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020

June 26th, 2013

Research Image_6.2013Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce just released an update of its widely-cited 2010 report, Help Wanted. The updated report, Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020, includes projections for two additional years – 2019 and 2020 – and provides pertinent labor market information such as which fields are expected to create the most jobs, the education requirements required to gain employment in the United States, and the skills demanded most by employers. A state report was also released.

New findings include:

  • There will be 55 million job openings in the economy through 2020: 24 million openings from newly created jobs and 31 million openings due to baby boom retirements.
  • 35 percent of the job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree, 30 percent of the job openings will require some college or an associate’s degree, and 36 percent of the job openings will require a high school diploma or less.
  • STEM, Healthcare, and Community Services will be areas of fastest growth but also will require higher levels of postsecondary education.
  • The United States will fall short by 5 million workers with postsecondary education – at the current production rate – by 2020.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its annual analysis containing data on the structure, finances, and performance of education systems in more than 40 countries. This year’s study finds that the gap between those with some postsecondary education and those without is widening, with unemployment rates three times higher for those who haven’t graduated high school.

As OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria noted, “Leaving school with good qualifications is more essential than ever. Countries must focus efforts on helping young people, especially the less well-educated who are most at risk of being trapped in a low skills, low wage future. Priorities include reducing school dropout rates and investing in skills-oriented education that integrates the worlds of learning and work.”

The report found that countries with high percentages of “vocational graduates,” such as Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, experienced lower unemployment rates for 25-34 year olds in this category than high school graduates. Unfortunately, data for the United States were not included in this portion of the report. The report also found that more young women than ever, 45 percent, are graduating from secondary vocational programs. In many countries – such as Australia, China, Finland, and Belgium, vocational graduation rates are higher for women than for men.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

New NASDCTEc Publication on Career Academies

May 13th, 2013

Career academies are a proven way of delivering high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE). Through small learning communities, college-preparatory curriculum, and strong partnerships with local employers, career academies offer work-based learning opportunities and rigorous pathways to postsecondary education and careers. Research strongly supports the efficacy of career academies in increasing the academic success, attendance levels and future earning potential of participating students.

Learn more about these dynamic academies in our latest publication, Career Academies: An Investment in Students, the Workforce and the Economy. An archived webinar on this topic, featuring representatives from the national, state and school levels, is now available here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

 

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