Yesterday, NASDCTEc released a new paper -Â The Common Career Technical Core, Programs of Study & Industry-Based Standards – during a webinar. Leveraging the methodology used to compareÂ 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 localÂ 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 standardsâ€¦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.â€
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 scopeÂ andÂ design of the CCTC compared to mostÂ 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,Â on average,Â 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 PracticesÂ 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 theÂ 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 Â 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 thatÂ 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 andÂ build out a coherent sequence of courses and learning experiences aligned to those different standards.
Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director, NASDCTEc