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

CTE Research Review

August 27th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013As postsecondary institutions work to ease students through higher education with an increasing number of interventions such as statewide articulation agreements and common course numbering systems, students moving from one postsecondary institution to another still find that their earned credits often will not move with them.

Against the backdrop of increasingly complex transfer patterns, the National Center for Education Statistics has taken a closer look at a crucial piece of the transfer process – postsecondary credit transferability. This report focuses on transfers between postsecondary institutions not the high school-to-college credit transfer through dual enrollment and other agreements.

This new study examines how often, and under what conditions, students transfer from one postsecondary institution to another and how many of their earned credits will transfer with them. The study also considers to what degree institutional and student characteristics affect credit transfers. It should be noted that the study captures only first-time, full-time students.

Analyzing data from the 2009 Postsecondary Education Transcript Study, NCES found that 35 percent one-third of first-time beginning undergraduates transferred at least once in six years, and more than 10 percent of students transferred more than once.

The study found two factors consistently contributed to successful credit transfers – academic performance prior to transfer and the direction by which a student was transferring. Overall, when a student transfers in a way that the higher education system is designed to accommodate, a student’s credit was much more likely to transfer. More than half of transfer students started in community colleges, and were more likely to have successful credit transfers than “reverse or horizontal transfers,” when students move from a university to a community college or between institutions of the same type.

Be sure to check out the full 60-page report to take a closer look at the student transfer experience.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Upcoming Webinar: Badging 101

August 25th, 2014

badge1Sometimes called “the next disrupter” in education, open badges offer an innovative platform for recognizing and displaying a students’ competency demonstrated either inside or outside the traditional classroom. Yet questions remain about how badges work at the institution and state level, how they can be folded into existing education systems, and what it takes to ensure their quality, reliability and validity.

On Tuesday October 7 @ 1 pm ET, join NASDCTEc and NOCTI for Badging 101: The What, The Why & The How, which will dig into some of these tough questions and explore open badges from national, state and local perspectives.

Speakers include:

  • Jade Forester, Marketing & Community Manager, Badge Alliance
  • John Foster, CEO, NOCTI and NBS
  • Marie Perotti, Project Coordinator CTE TEACH, Colton, Redlands, Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program
  • Russ Weikle, State CTE Director, California Department of Education

Register here today!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Five Reasons to Attend NASDCTEC’s 2014 Fall Meeting

August 21st, 2014

For 94 years, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) has represented chief Career Technical Education (CTE) administrators from across the country. Through leadership, advocacy and partnerships, NASDCTEc supports innovative CTE that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers, and poises the United States to flourish in a dynamic global economy.

REGISTER TODAY

Bringing together creativity and expertise, NASDCTEc’s 2014 Fall Meeting is a cooperative professional development event where CTE leaders can confront challenges to the enterprise in collaboration with colleagues from across the country.

So, why join should you join us at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting: Preparing for the Future, October 20 – 22, 2014, in Baltimore? Here are five reasons:

  1. Learn what works: Sessions at NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting are collaborative, led by expert moderators and presenters with vast institutional knowledge on major initiatives and emerging practices. From State Directors to national researchers to federal administrators, diverse and well-informed perspectives will guide constructive sessions to the cutting edge of the current practice and implementation and break new ground on the future of CTE.
  2. Share your ideas…: In discussion with your colleagues, you’ll have unparalleled opportunities to share your latest innovations and build solutions to the stickiest problems you face.
  3. …And develop new ones: Inspiration strikes when innovation meets experience, as it will at NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting. You’ll be able to apply new ideas and strategies learned to your own work when you get back home.
  4. Build your network: NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting will be populated with a diverse crowd — not only our State Directors and Associate Members, but also national associations, researchers and top-class sponsors with deep commitment to the CTE. Over three days, you’ll be afforded opportunities to add to your professional network and start conversations that will carry on well after the meeting adjourns.
  5. Gain national exposure: Looking to expand your brand? Want to contribute to the national conversation on CTE? At the Fall Meeting, you’ll get the chance to join CTE leaders from across the country to contribute your own unique perspective to the national conversation.

Don’t wait, register now!


Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

CTE Research Review

August 20th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013The 46th annual “2014 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools” is being released in two parts this year, with part one debuting Wednesday. The findings present a complicated picture of public attitudes toward the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), standardized tests and issues surrounding local control. This year’s topics were selected by an expert panel that included NASDCTEc member Katherine Oliver, Assistant State Superintendent at the Maryland Department of Education.

Making headlines were results indicating that support for CCSS is fading fast. This may be tied to misunderstanding of its purpose, as the study found that most Americans oppose public education efforts that they believe were created or promoted by the federal government and strongly support local control of what schools teach. While CCSS is neither a federal initiative nor designed to mandate specific curricula, the poll indicates that many Americans see CCSS as an example of federal overreach. According to the poll 56 percent say local school boards should have the greatest influence in deciding what is taught in public schools. Almost 30 percent of respondents indicated that state governments should have the greatest influence on what public schools teach.

Persistent across age, income and education levels, a majority of Americans also oppose using the CCSS to guide instruction, though opinion splits by political affiliation — Republican (76 percent), Independents (60 percent) and Democrats (38 percent). Nationally, just one in three people said they favored the standards, primarily because they will help students learn what they need to know regardless of where they go to school.

Each year, the study asks the public to grade the President’s performance in support of public schools. This year, President Barack Obama received the lowest grade since becoming president in 2009. Underscoring the deep divides over education in the country, respondents equally gave the President an A or B (27 percent) or a Fail (27 percent).

The study’s co-author and CEO of PDK International, William J. Bushaw, said policy makers are often faced with a tough reality when public opinion and public policy conflict, with the question being whether to modify the policy to align with public opinion or launch a communications campaign to better explain the new policy.

“To address higher achievement and greater equity, the United States needs standards of excellence, and there is wide agreement that the Common Core State Standards offer these standards. In this case, modifying policy is not a solution,” Bushaw wrote. “… Working together, education professionals through their associations, along with business and political leaders can work together to mount a nonpartisan communications campaign explaining to Americans why the Common Core State Standards are essential to the nation’s future and to the success of all children. Public support for the standards is declining — we need to fight for these standards since we are losing in the court of public opinion.”

Check back on September 17 for the second part of the 2014 poll with topics such as preparing students for college and careers, importance and affordability of college, preparing and evaluating teachers, support for reforming America’s schools, and student well-being.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Achieving Excellence in the New School Year – Computer Information Technology at TCAT-Shelbyville

August 20th, 2014

As the new school year commences, our Excellence in Action award winners are hard at work, improving upon the great work that earned them our annual commendation in their respective Career Cluster®.

Our Information Technology Career Cluster winner, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Computer Information Technology (CIT) program has been working hard over the summer to expand its outreach efforts, stretch its curriculum across Career Clusters and reach more students.

While CIT already provides an impressive six diplomas, eight certificates and nine industry-recognized certifications, it plans to add the high-demand Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification, multi-leveled server certification and a more comprehensive wireless program to align their offerings to industry needs.

CIT has also seen its alumni paying it forward to the latest generation of graduates in the form of advising and mentorship. CIT regularly brings graduates back to counsel current students in the scope of the IT field today, and received feedback over the summer from recent graduates who have stayed in the region receiving strong mentorship from more senior CIT alumni who are now their colleagues and supervisors.

Click here for our Excellence in Action profile on CIT, and click here for more information on CIT from TCAT-Shelbyville.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Council of State Governments’ National Conference

August 15th, 2014

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend The Council of State Governments’ (CSG)  annual national conference as a member of the National Task Force on Workforce Development and Education, which is part of their “State Pathways to Prosperity initiative.”  With members representing all three branches of state government, CSG brought a broad set of perspectives together to discuss the key challenges and opportunities in developing a strong education and workforce pipeline.  The final Task Force framework and recommendations will be further developed and released in the coming months.

In addition to the Task Force meeting, I also had the opportunity to attend a policy academy where I learned about an array of  impressive state- and business-led efforts to support students’ career readiness and U.S. competitiveness. One such example is the MC2 STEM High School, developed through a partnership between the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and GE Lighting.  Students attend school on the GE campus during their sophomore year, where they engage in a year-long project that culminates in a presentation to GE leaders, and then spend their junior and senior years at Cleveland State University. All students complete at least one internship, have a GE “buddy” and must demonstrate 90 percent “proficiency” to earn credits. Since the school opened in 2008, nearly 100 percent of MC2 STEM students have graduated, and 84 percent of the graduates have matriculated into college.

Another fascinating model shared was the Automotive Manufacturers Technical Education Collaborative (AMTEC), or the National Center for Excellence in Advanced Automotive Manufacturing. AMTEC is an effort supported by the major automotive manufacturers – Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, etc. – to develop a set of common expectations to anchor training programs for multi-skilled employees. AMTEC provides industry-developed and verified curriculum and assessments to its member community colleges, companies and high schools, as well as professional development and other resources.

Alaska 1And did I mention the meeting was in Anchorage, Alaska as a bonus? As evidence, here’s a picture of me…and a picture of a moose. 

Alaska 2

 
Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

 

Georgia Program Highlighted for Learning that Works — through Work

August 14th, 2014

“The idea is to bring abstract concepts to life to make them easier to understand.”

Those words are the crux of a recent 1,000 word profile of a school-industry partnership between Southwire, a Georgia-based manufacturer and its local school district called 12 for Life that is designed to tie education — particularly in math and science — to career skills.

In the report, the Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan House documents collaboration between company executives who were “increasingly alarmed by their difficulty finding reliable employees, a problem they attributed at least in part to an elevated high-school dropout rate” and school officials to build a program that ties four hours working with experienced professionals on Southwire’s factory floor to eight hours of classroom learning in an innovative summer school experience.

Though restricted to the Manufacturing Career Cluster, the Southwire partnership is a model for positive employer engagement. It embodies principle two of Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, asan active partnership between employers and educators that delivers a dynamic experience to local high schoolers, and has already demonstrated a positive return on investment (principle five) for the company.

Against the backdrop of Georgia’s new bill expanding youth apprenticeship programs to increase work-based learning opportunities, Southwire provides a clear example of Learning that works for Georgia.

Learn more about the program here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

FOLLOW UP: Forbes also profiled Southwire’s 12 for Life initiative in their August 18 edition. That story is available here.

CTE Research Review

August 14th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013Although apprenticeships make up just 0.2 percent of the U.S. labor force, they are garnering more attention this summer thanks to recent reports, including from the White House’s Ready to Work initiative and a set of policy recommendations from The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project.

American University economics professor Robert I. Lerman posited that investing, expanding and re-branding U.S. apprenticeships has “the potential to reduce youth unemployment, improve the transition from school to career, upgrade skills, raise wages of young adults, strengthen a young worker’s identity, increase U.S. productivity, achieve positive returns for employers and workers and use limited federal resources more effectively.”

Despite such findings, the size of the U.S. apprenticeship system stands in stark contrast to other major developed countries such as Canada (2.2 percent), Britain (2.7 percent) and Australia and Germany (both 3.7 percent). In Britain, apprenticeships are coming back into favor after years of decline, much like the United States’ system. Recent surveys show that students and the wider public have a “growing appetite” for apprenticeships.

Federal investments would be one part of the approach to expanding the U.S. apprenticeship program. According to Lerman, the United States spends less than $30 million annually, whereas Britain spends about £1 billion (or $1.7 billion). If British spending on apprenticeships were adjusted to match the U.S. population, Lerman estimates that figure would be $8.5 billion.

Calling the expansion of apprenticeships a “potential game-changer”, Lerman offers recommendations for federal and state governments as well as examples of successful youth apprenticeship programs in Georgia and Wisconsin

Be sure to check out additional apprenticeship-related recommendations from the Center for American Progress, through their series of issue papers as well.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Catching Up With … State Legislatures (Part 6)

August 8th, 2014

Catching Up SeriesEditor’s Note: This is part of a series that will highlight some of this year’s major state legislative activity as it relates to Career Technical Education (CTE). Further explanation of the series can be found here as well as the previous installments. For a comprehensive look-back at the 2013 legislative sessions, check out the “2013 CTE Year in Review,” which was published jointly by NASDCTEc and the Association for Career and Technical Education in March.

Within K-12, state legislatures were very active this year, making several changes to programs and high school graduation requirements, to name a few.

Programmatic Changes

Georgia lawmakers amended the state’s Youth Apprenticeship Program through the “Work Based Learning Act,” to increase the number of students and employers participating in such programs in order to produce a “successful twenty-first century workforce,” according to the bill’s text.

Florida also expanded its collegiate high school system by requiring each Florida College System institution to work with the district school board in its designated service area to establish one or more of these programs beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. Additionally, the programs must include an option for students in grades 11 or 12 to earn a CAPE industry certification and to successfully complete 30 credit hours through dual enrollment toward their first year of college.

In Mississippi, lawmakers approved a new pilot program for middle school dropout prevention and recovery. School districts that receive a “D” or “F” rating are eligible to participate if selected by the state Board of Education. The pilot’s purpose is to reengage students and increase the state’s graduation rates through an educational program that provides vocational technology and other instructional models that are self-paced and mastery-based, provide flexible scheduling and a blended learning environment with individualized graduation plans.

Graduation Requirements

Washington lawmakers directed the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop curriculum frameworks for a selected list of Career Technical Education courses with content in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that is considered equivalent to high school graduation requirements in science or math. The law also requires that course content must be aligned with industry standards and the state’s academic standards in math and science. Increasing CTE course equivalencies has been a priority of Washington Governor Jay Inslee. The frameworks are to be submitted to the state Board of Education for approval and implementation for the 2015-16 academic year.

Much like Florida’s change to its graduation requirements in math, Arizona school districts are now allowed to approve a rigorous computer science course to fulfill a mathematics credit for graduation.

As part of its “Alaska Education Opportunity Act” and Governor Sean Parnell’s priorities for this year’s legislative session, lawmakers repealed the state’s high school exit exam and replaced it with a college or career ready assessment such as the ACT, SAT or WorkKeys.

As districts look to implement these new requirements, a new report from ACT may bear some useful insight. In 2005, Illinois lawmakers changed the states’ graduation requirements to a minimum of three years of math and two years of science. ACT found that these new requirements had no significant impact on college-readiness test scores in math and science, though there was a slight improvement in college enrollment. ACT says that these findings suggest that advanced coursework alone isn’t enough to improve student learning.

Next time in the “Catching Up With…” series

This will be the last post for legislatures that wrapped their sessions by May 9. In the weeks to come, we’ll take a closer look at major CTE-related bills from the remaining 25 state legislatures. Stay tuned to learn more!

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

CTE Research Review

August 7th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013Research has shown time and again that finishing what you start in higher education is key to higher lifetime potential earnings, gainful employment and much more. Most researchers use the term, “some college” for students who enrolled in college but left without receiving a degree or certificate, but what does this enigmatic term really mean?

Though this category includes 31 million students over the past 20 years, little is known about the students themselves. The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) takes a closer look at who makes up this group with its new report, “Some College, No Degree: A National View of Students with Some College Enrollment, but No Completion”.

Through national data on enrollments over time and across institutions, NSC was able to dig deeper than most reports, which traditionally survey a representative sample of adults. By using data, NSC excluded those who earned degrees or certificates and analyzed the enrollment pathways of the “some college” population.

In particular, the report focuses largely on two groups of students: those who had enrolled in multiple institutions, and “potential completers” — those with at least two full academic years’ worth of college.

The NSC researchers believe that potential completers should be at the center of the discussion about improving postsecondary completion rates. They say that policies still need to be tailored to fit their needs as older students returning to education after a period of extended absence from the system.

Most potential completers tend to be between 24 and 29 years old. Although women are slightly more represented overall in this group, men somewhat outnumber women within the 24-29 age bracket who have been out of the higher education system for two to six years. More than one in four potential completers enrolled continuously or intermittently for seven years or longer and their enrollment histories are equally split among two- and four-year institutions. These demographics, the researchers say, have unique needs that educators and policymakers need to address to bring these students back into schools and get them to graduation.

To learn more about the “some college group” including important policy recommendations, be sure to check out the full report.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

 

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