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Career Clusters™ Institute Series: Integrating Knowledge and Skill Statements into Curriculum, A College’s Story

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that will be shared at the upcoming session: Integrating Knowledge and Skill Statements into Curriculum: A College’s Story at the Career Clusters™ Institute in June.

Becky Burton is currently the Director of Career Clusters™ and Director of Radiography at Amarillo College. As Director of Career Clusters, Mrs. Burton is leading the college in developing core curricula across Career Clusters™, collaborating with area secondary school districts to vertically align programs of study, and streamlining articulations for technical and academic dual credit.

Dr. Robin Nickel has 17 years experience working in postsecondary education and curriculum management including analyzing college needs, presenting practical solutions, and implementing institutional change. Nickel is Associate Director at Worldwide Instructional Design System, a curriculum-design software, training and consulting services company.

The Power of a Process

Adapting curriculum to local workforce needs requires a clear curriculum development process. What does this mean for frontline educators in colleges?

As educators are working to integrate academic, career, and technical instruction, curriculum design efforts are being examined and an efficient design process is needed. Ideally, this process should ease the burden on educators and help them organize, approve, and disseminate quality curriculum. An emphasis on curriculum relevancy is also part of the challenge, as educational offerings are to include competencies, problem-solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, and knowledge of the industry. Many business coalitions already work with educators to determine what skills and knowledge are needed in Career Technical Education (CTE).

A Consistent Approach to Curriculum Process A Must

Because curriculum should ideally be customized to local needs, the task to implement industry-defined skills or core abilities (critical thinking, responsibility, teamwork, etc.) – into a local course or program can:

  • seek industry input, incorporate findings into offerings
  • infuse Career Clusters, with their associated Knowledge and Skills, into curriculum
  • determine course outcomes and overlaps/gaps so informed decisions are made about dual enrollment agreements for high school and college course work
  • design assessments that target course and program outcomes
  • incorporate extended learning opportunities, such as job shadow experiences, mentor programs, internships, etc.
  • manage curriculum change

Clear course and program outcomes with associated performance standards and assessments – what is defined as curriculum – become the basis of learning in any environment. This curriculum should directly interface with learners, empower them, and it should be developed in a consistent, efficient manner that won’t duplicate efforts or dumb-down the quality.

Some college systems use a common curriculum design system to help ensure the externally-driven standards are being addressed and taught in their own local courses and programs. In several cases, the process simplifies articulation between secondary and post-secondary systems, ideally providing a general road map of what courses are offered at what institution and of those, what are offered for credit.

Learn about a successful example of a college — Amarillo College – that adopted a process and tool to implement Knowledge and Skill Statements into their curriculum and foster more consistency among programs. Attend Nickels’ and Burtons’ session: Integrating Knowledge and Skill Statements into Curriculum: A College’s Story at the Career Clusters™ Institute in June.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

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