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Measuring Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems: Where to Start

March 23rd, 2017

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) affords states the chance to strengthen their accountability systems by adopting multiple measures of school success rather than relying on an antiquated test-based system. Buoyed by this flexibility, state agencies across the country are exploring strategies to integrate career readiness indicators into their accountability systems. While some states have made considerable progress in this arena, others are left wondering where do we start?

To help states navigate this new territory, Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers convened a workgroup of accountability experts and tasked them with identifying and recommending robust metrics to measure career readiness. Their recommendations, released earlier this month in a brief titled Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems, detail four possible measures of student career readiness:

  • Progress Toward Post-High School Credential
  • Co-Curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences
  • Assessment of Readiness
  • Transitions Beyond High School

The brief further outlines strategies for measuring and valuing each of these measures, demonstrating how states can implement and gradually increase the sophistication of their measurement indicators. Lessons are also drawn from states such as Ohio, Kentucky and California that have made headway toward adopting and implementing career-focused accountability indicators in recent years.

Moving forward, JPMorgan Chase & Co. aims to support state efforts to adopt these recommendations and enhance their career-focused accountability through New Skills for Youth, a cross-state initiative to dramatically increase the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for careers.

Expanding Access to Postsecondary Learning

Separately, students who earned dual credit in Oregon schools were more likely than their peers to graduate from high school, enroll in college and persist through their first year. That’s according to new research from the Research Education Lab at Education Northwest examining dual credit participation between 2005 and 2013. While the study reveals a correlation between dual credit attainment and positive outcomes, the authors note equity gaps in participation across student subgroups. Dual credit earners in the study were more often white, female and not on the federal free and reduced lunch program.

Equitable access to higher education is not a new issue, but it can often be exacerbated by performance-based funding formulas. Without careful design, such formulas can encourage two-year and four-year colleges to be more selective with who they admit into their programs. According to the Center for Legal and Social Policy (CLASP), states should adjust their postsecondary formula weights to counteract selectivity and encourage more open access to postsecondary education.

Odds and Ends

  • The Education Commission of the States published an analysis of State Longitudinal Data Systems, highlighting common approaches and challenges to instituting cross-system data sharing systems. The brief profiles successes in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
  • A study out of Mississippi State University exploring perceptions of CTE found that 45 percent of Mississippi residents were unable to name a single CTE program in their area. The authors put forward a series of recommendations including calling on educators to actively promote the many benefits of CTE participation, such as highlighting college-bound students, program flexibility, fast-track to careers and high-skill, high-demand job opportunities.
  • Two years after the California legislature launched the Career Pathways Trust — a $500 million grant program to finance collaborative career pathways — Jobs for the Future has released a summary of common successes and challenges across different grant sites.
  • A new paper from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign provides a quality assurance framework for short-term occupational training programs and makes recommendations for state and federal policymakers to strengthen such programs.
  • Two reports from America’s Promise Alliance, Relationships First and Turning Points, explore the role that relationship building plays in guiding students along their career pathways. The reports — the first two in an ongoing series — highlight Cafe Momentum in Dallas, TX; Per Scholas in the Bronx, NY; Urban Alliance in Washington, D.C.; and Year Up in the Bay Area.
  • A new study from the Online Learning Consortium examines six institutions in the United States that are experimenting with alternative credentialing strategies to provide flexible postsecondary learning opportunities, including digital distance learning and prior learning assessments.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

November 4th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

IBM makes the case as to why reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is critical to the success of America’s workforce.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The Oceans of Data Institute developed an occupational profile identifying the work, activities, skills, knowledge and behavior that define what data practitioners need to know and be able to do. It will be used to develop courses and programs that lead to big data careers.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Next week on November 10 from 11 a.m. – noon ET, we’re hosting a webinar taking a dive into the 2017 Excellence in Action award application process. Learn more about how to apply for the award, hear from some 2016 award winners, and be ready with questions for Advance CTE staff and a member of last year’s selection committee so that you submit an award-winning application.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

This Week in CTE

February 20th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK
NRAEF  Amazing stat! RT @CTEWorks “@CCRSCenter The HS grad rate for #CTE concentrators is about 90%, 10% higher than national average #CTEMonth
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Jobs in Health Care on the Rise, but Skills Gap Prevents Hiring
Columbus is facing a skills gap particularly in health care and insurance sectors, New York City has over 33,000 jobs available in STEM fields, and Houston can’t find employees for petrochemical and industrial and commercial construction jobs. Career Technical Education is a way to educate students in these fields, but even more needs to be done to insure industry needs are being met. This includes: the collection of real-time labor market data and working with industry leadership to determine their needs; better funding; and scalable solutions that can be adopted across fields.
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RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Check out our new CTEWorks YouTube page, where you can find CTE advocacy videos, along with seven video previews workshops based on the book developed in partnership with the Center for Occupational Research and Development, “The Career Pathways Effect: Linking Education and Economic Prosperity,” covering topics aimed at supporting CTE practitioners and leaders in the implementations and improvement of career pathways.
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TOOL OF THE WEEK
The College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center updated their interactive map to include eight territories including American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to showcase how these areas are improving college and career readiness.
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CTE MONTH RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Check out the Association for Career and Technical Education for their variety of resources for CTE Month. It’s not too late to get involved, so make sure to take a look at their fact sheets, sample press release, CTE Month logo and more!
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CTE Research Review

June 25th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013In this week’s Research Review, we dive into unemployment rates for community college graduates and a new report on the manufacturing sector from the Milstein Center.

Community college graduates vs. unemployment rates

The New York Times has tapped into data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics linking unemployment rates to educational attainment. Most strikingly among community college graduates, those who finished with an occupational degree had a substantially lower unemployment rate than their academic-degree counterparts at 4.0 and 4.8 percent, respectively.

The data also suggest that occupationally focused associate’s degrees (which encompass most CTE fields of study) “are healthy and growing,” according to additional analysis from the Economic Modeling Specialists International.

Six proposals to expand manufacturing’s innovative capacity

The recently released inaugural report from The Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing, which is part of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, explores challenges facing the future of small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises and their ability to innovate as technologies advance and global demand shifts over the next decade.

Among the six ideas proposed, the commission advocates for “upside-down degrees” to encourage alignment between work experience and college education, a “skills census” to better understand the skills gap and a renewed focus on technology and engineering skills for high school students as a means to stimulate the rise of new manufacturing in the United States.

According to the report, the country’s 258,000 small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises represent more than 98 percent of all U.S. manufacturing firms and now share 45 percent of the sector’s jobs. The report identified a serious and comprehensive cultural change as necessary to create a pipeline of skilled workers from K-12 and workforce training programs. However, those challenges notwithstanding, small and medium firms often lack the required capital to invest in their employees or the on-the-job training needed to keep their existing workforce current.

Check out the entire report to learn more about the six proposals.

NASDCTEc’s state pages updated

Our state profile pages have been updated to include state allocations of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. We’ve also recently added new functionality for members only that allows users to compare multiple states, and have begun identifying and sharing CTE success stories from across the country. We’ll list other new additions here as they become available.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Memorial Tribute to Phyllis Dryden, Former NV State Director

February 28th, 2011

Former Nevada State Director Phyllis L. Dryden, 63, passed away Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, at her home in Carson City, Nevada after a valiant battle with cancer. She passed peacefully with family in attendance.

Mike Raponi, Nevada State Director shared with NASDCTEc that Phyllis Dryden worked at the Department of Education for nearly twenty years, and served as the Director for Career, Technical and Adult Education for fourteen years.  Mike also said that “Throughout the Department, Phyllis exhibited a passion for CTE and adult education that was contagious; across the State, she was known as someone who cared deeply about education.

Phyllis was a stable force in CTE, providing leadership during transitional phases when the discipline evolved from occupational education to workforce education to career and technical education.  And it was under her leadership when the State first developed state skill standards; standards exist for more than twenty-five CTE programs today.

Phyllis was also known for her work ethic.  She never slowed down, approaching each day with a can-do attitude in the face of a relentless work load. But for Phyllis, that work load was rarely a burden; rather, it represented a challenge she enthusiastically faced most every day.”

From Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director: “Phyllis was a strong, passionate advocate for CTE and a warm, kind-hearted person. I will miss her dearly.”

Milt Ericksen, AZ State Director, shared “I first met Phyllis Dryden at the NASDCTEc spring 2001 meeting.  She had been in her position for several years and immediately volunteered to be a peer mentor/advisor when I had questions on any topic (I had hundreds).  During that first year we began what became a long-term friendship built on mutual respect and the desire to make our states leaders in CTE.   We would call and e-mail each other regularly, took turns serving as Board liaisons from our region and laughed, told stories and just plain had a lot of fun along the way.  Phyllis Dryden epitomized true leadership in CTE and will be greatly missed, but always remembered and revered by me.”

Vicki Newell, Executive Director of the Northern Nevada Literacy Council noted that “I’ve known Phyllis since December 1993 and feel privileged to have both a working relationship and friendship with her.  She had a “walk softly/carry a big stick” leadership style that I respected because I always knew where I stood with her.  She cared very deeply for those who worked for and with her and particularly cared about the students her department served.  She was a super individual.”

Phyllis’s obituary states “throughout her life she received many awards and commendations and in 2010, the year she retired, she received the “Bill Trabert Memorial Award” for lifetime achievement in education.”

The full obituary can be accessed online. If you wish to send a card to the family, please send to Phyllis’s son and daughter, Julie Campos and Ryan Hawkins, 813 Lexington, Carson City, NV 89703.

Quality Career and Job Focused Programs Could be Critical in Global Competitiveness

November 20th, 2009

Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a high-profile, international research and policy group, recently released a report stating that “good vocational training is an important part of a strong economy.”

The report, Learning for Jobs, offers a set of policy recommendations to help countries implement strategies that are responsive to the labor market and would boost economic growth. OECD’s endorsement of quality career and job training could heighten conversations being had over the United State’s minimal investment in CTE when compared to competing countries such as China and India.

“Potentially, VET plays a key role in determining competitiveness,” the report said.

OECD refers to the career-focused educational system as Vocational Education and Training (VET), but acknowledges the different terms used across nations, including the United State’s term of CTE. Many traits that characterize OECD’s concept of “good” VET are similar to that of the U.S.: industry partnerships, occupational mobility, programs based on labor market.

Among the report’s recommendations:
•Offer a mix of vocational education reflecting student preferences and employers’ needs.
Also, provide transferable skills to support occupational mobility. Beyond secondary level, share costs among government, employers and students based on benefits obtained.
•In vocational institutions, promote partnerships with industry, encourage part-time work, and promote flexible pathways of recruitment. In the workplace, provide appropriate pedagogical preparation to those responsible for trainees and apprentices. Nationally, adopt a standardized assessment framework.
•Offer sufficient incentives for both employers and students to participate in workplace training. Ensure that training is of good quality, with effective quality assurance and contractual frameworks for apprentices.

 

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