The enactment of Perkins IV in 2006 elevated CTE standards and launched a new debate to the issue of technical skill assessments – a barometer used to measure new expectations for CTE programs, particularly at the secondary level. In a recent Techniques magazine article, a CTE-focused ACTE publication, NASDCTEc staff highlighted the challenges the CTE community faces when implementing these new assessments and the opportunities to maximize the efforts underway.
While some CTE stakeholders may look at a technical assessment as another component of the Perkins’ checklist, NASDCTEc staff suggests that the requirements present an avenue to elevate the value of CTE programs. Such an enhancement would be achieved by designing the assessments to have a direct and tangible benefit for students. “The assessments should serve as a signaling and credentialing tool for students entering the workplace and postsecondary education,” according to the article, Raising the Bar: Technical Assessments for Secondary CTE Programs.
Creating assessment and certification programs that are valued and recognized by industry and postsecondary education will require investment by and collaboration among all stakeholders – CTE state directors, industry, policymakers and other education stakeholders. Perkins offers education leaders the bully pulpit to enact the change needed to best serve our students with meaningful education and assessment programs that lead to successful careers. It is time to take advantage of this opportunity.