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Report Highlights State Directors’ Efforts to Improve CTE through New Vision

Career Technical Education (CTE) is one education delivery mechanism that is redefining the mission of America’s high schools, according to a recent paper.

In the paper, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a non-profit organization that creates research-based assessments, lauds NASDCTEc’s new vision for CTE as “a strong indication of the continuing efforts to improve CTE.” Specifically, the authors wrote about the State Directors’ intent to ensure that standards are internationally-benchmarked and a rigorous blend of academic and technical content. While the authors convey that more work is needed to improve CTE, they also support CTE’s integrated approach and opportunities for applied and academic learning.

The tremendous potential of CTE in America is evident when looking at the results shown by CTE internationally. For example, “Twenty-four percent of Japan’s secondary students are in vocational programs, as are 29 percent in Korea, and a whopping 72 percent in the United Kingdom. All of these countries had higher average scores in eighth-grade mathematics than did the United States in the latest TIMSS (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study) assessment.”

While educators in the United States have looked to high-scoring countries for examples of educational excellence, the report says, they often overlook a key point – these countries are using CTE approaches. The results are impressive: “Analysis of international data found that nations enrolling a large proportion of upper-secondary students in vocational programs have significantly higher school attendance rates and upper-secondary completion rates.” Still, the report points out, all students need more guidance and career counseling to help navigate options and prepare for college and careers.

NASDCTEc members, click “Career Technical Education” then “CTE Success Map” to view high-achieving CTE programs across the nation!

Read more about CTE in the “Different Pathways to Life Destinations” chapter of the ETS report.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

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