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

Posts Tagged ‘college and career readiness’

Report: State Policy Approaches for Incentivizing CTE

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Career Technical Education (CTE) has become a top priority in education policy – receiving recognition from governors and members of Congress – because of its relevance to local, state, and national economies.

The Education Commission of the States (ECS), a group that facilitates the exchange of information among state policymakers and education leaders, released this month an issue brief describing how states are depending on CTE to address many issues – such as the skills gap and alignment of education with labor market needs – and what states are doing to incentivize the use of CTE. Some incentives include:

The report also draws attention to the integration of academic and technical courses and content through the Common Core State Standards and the reframing of dual enrollment programs to include CTE.

View the ECS issue brief here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News, Publications, Resources
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November CTE Monthly: Sequestration Could Impact Over One Million CTE Students; Career Readiness Definition Released

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

In the November edition, read more about:

View archived CTE Monthly newsletters and other resources on our Advocacy Tools Web page.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News, Resources
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PARCC Sets Benchmark to Define Academic Preparation Necessary for College and Career Readiness

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Governing Board and the PARCC Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR) have established a common benchmark to define the academic preparation necessary for college and career readiness.

Recently, the groups voted unanimously to adopt a College- and Career-Ready Determination (CCRD) policy and Policy-Level Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs). Agreement on a CCRD policy and the PLDs in mathematics and English language arts/literacy is a significant milestone in the development of the next generation assessments, according to a recent PARCC announcement.

The CCRD policy defines the level of academic preparation in English language arts/literacy and mathematics students need to be successful in entry-level, credit-bearing courses in two- and four-year public institutions of higher education. Such institutions include technical colleges that award degrees or credentials aligned to entry requirements of middle- or high-skilled jobs.

Further, students who achieve at the CCR level on the secondary assessments will be able to enter directly into certain entry-level, credit-bearing courses in those subject areas without needing to take placement tests.

The CCRD policy recognizes the importance of academic preparation, but also notes that a focus on that area alone does not encompass the full range of knowledge, skills, and characteristics that students need to be successful. Skills and traits such as persistence, motivation, time management, employability skills and technical skills also are essential. The CCRDs aims to serve as one among many tactics to support students as they work to be college and career ready.

Learn more at

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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Huffington Post Highlights Career Readiness Definition

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

The Career Readiness Partner Council (CRPC), a coalition of education, business, philanthropic, and policy groups including NASDCTEc, released last week a vision statement on what it means to be career ready. The definition broadens the college and career readiness conversation by emphasizing the essential link between education, employment, and lifelong learning.

This week, Gallup research director Tim Hodges penned a blog on Huffington Post about how the CRPC’s vision provides clear guidance for policymakers, educators, students, and others to move toward career readiness.

Hodges wrote that, “This new definition challenges the historical belief that career readiness is a one-way street that starts in K-12 and runs through college, ending as one enters a career. The CRPC recognizes that career readiness is a lifelong process that connects education and employment to achieve a fulfilling, financially secure and successful career.”

Learn more about the CRPC and career readiness at

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager


By Kara in News

New York’s P-Tech Program Leads Students to Success

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

In New York, the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) is a new style of Career Technical Education (CTE) school that weaves high school and college curriculums into a six-year program tailored for a job in the technology industry.

Students are following a course of studies developed in consultation with IBM, and are expected to emerge with associate’s degrees in applied science in computer information systems or electromechanical engineering technology. The first group of students is slated to complete coursework by 2017.

Other school systems around the country are encouraged by this approach. The Chicago area opened five similar schools this year with corporate partners in telecommunications and technology. Besides New York and Illinois, education officials in Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee have committed to creating such schools as well.

According to a New York Times article by Al Baker, John B. King, Jr., the state education commissioner said “When we view high-quality CTE programs, we see how engaged those students are and what clear aspirations they have for their future.”

CTE programs such as these enable students to be successful by gaining the skills and training needed through specialized programs of study. These programs achieve added strength through a partnership with IBM that provides mentoring to students and assistance to the school’s educators.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in News
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Study: Texas Dual Enrollment Students Twice as Likely to Earn Associate Degree or Higher

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Dual enrollment provides high school students the opportunity to take college courses while in high school, and research suggests that participation could increase the likelihood that students will attend and graduate from college. Another recent study, following more than 30,000 Texas high school graduates, adds to a growing body of research that supports dual enrollment as a powerful connector of high school and postsecondary education.

For six years, Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit organization helping align education with high-demand careers, followed the 2004 Texas high school graduates. Half of the students had participated in dual enrollment opportunities while in high school, and the other half had not.

The findings from the Texas study are powerful:

Jobs for the Future recommends that policymakers expand dual enrollment opportunities for students. State policy should ensure support and policies to support low-income and underrepresented students in participating in dual enrollment.

Through programs of study that strategically connect secondary education with postsecondary and workforce options, Career Technical Education (CTE) widely supports student participation in dual enrollment programs as a research-based path to postsecondary credential and degree completion.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager  

By Kara in Research
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New NASDCTEc Brief: Promoting Work-Based Learning: Efforts in Connecticut and Kentucky

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

NASDCTEc has partnered with the Alliance for Excellent Education to co-author Promoting Work-Based Learning: Efforts in Connecticut and Kentucky, which details what work-based learning looks like at different learner levels, and the benefits that students gain from their participation in work-based learning opportunities. The brief also highlights the potential obstacles facing states that can limit both the access to and quality of work-based learning opportunities, and looks at efforts from two states to define work-based learning opportunities for students, educators, and employers, and to create policies that provide greater access to these opportunities.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

By Nancy in Public Policy, Publications
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New CRS Report Highlights NASDCTEc Work

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which provides reports and analyses to Members of Congress on a variety of policy issues, recently released a new report on Career Technical Education. The goal of the report, Career and Technical Education: A Primer, is to “support congressional discussion of initiatives designed to rationalize the workforce development system.”

The report provides an overview of CTE, walks through the delivery and structure of CTE at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult learner levels, and raises several issues facing CTE stakeholders. For example, according to the report, there are four concerns that may hinder CTE delivery at the secondary level: (1) what is the goal of CTE – to broaden the students’ education and provide early exposure to several career options or to ensure students are prepared to enter the workforce, (2) the expense of maintaining and updating the instructional resources and equipment, (3) whether CTE adds value to a college preparatory high school curriculum, and (4) that the common core standards do not define career-ready and thus may not provide immediate career preparation.

While explaining the National Career ClustersTM Framework, the report references data from NASDCTEc’s 2011 issue brief, Career Clusters and Programs of Study: State of the States. The data for this issue brief was culled from the 2010 State Profile survey. We administer this survey to our members every other year to collect a wealth of information to be used in updating the State Profiles, and to provide the basis for a number of issue briefs. We are pleased that CRS was able to utilize our data in their report!

In the section “College- and Career-Ready Standards and CTE Standards” the report highlights NASDCTEc and NCTEF’s work around the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) as one of the two set of standards impacting CTE students. As stated in the CRS report, the CCTC was developed by 42 states, the District of Columbia, Palau, business and industry representatives, educators, and other stakeholders, and it provides standards for each of the 16 Career ClustersTM and their career pathways.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

By Nancy in Public Policy, Publications
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PARCC College-Ready Determination Policy to include Career-Ready?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

At a recent meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, the PARCC Assessment Consortium leaders discussed preliminary feedback received from the public comments on the draft PARCC Draft College-Ready Determination Policy and Policy-Level Performance Level Descriptors. As part of the discussion around the feedback, a question about adding career-ready to the description as a means to include the connectivity to the expectations for mathematics and English Language Arts for both college- and career- readiness was raised.

The policy determination is the initial step in the process that K-12 and postsecondary leaders in PARCC states will use to frame the performance expectations students must meet in English language arts/literacy and mathematics using a five point rating scale. The current draft under public comment review is available here. The primary objective identified within the draft policy states,

“ . . .  students who earn a College-Ready Determination and are admitted to two- or four-year institutions of higher education will be exempted from having to take and pass other placement tests designed to determine whether they are academically prepared to enter directly into entry-level, credit-bearing courses in English, mathematics, and a wide range of disciplines that require college-level reading, such as history and the social sciences.

The College-Ready Determination is not being designed to inform college admission decisions or to exempt students from having to take tests designed to place them into more advanced courses beyond entry-level courses (p. 2)”

As part of the policy development, PARCC leaders have connected with the CTE community through the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and others to engage in a dialogue around the issues and opportunities to include career-ready as part of the determination policy for mathematics and English language arts as well.

A webinar is being established to engage feedback and input about including a career ready level in the policy creation and assist in the public comment feedback period specifically from the CTE community.


Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director

By Dean in Public Policy
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ACT Scores: 60 Percent of High School Graduates Did Not Meet Benchmarks for College and Career Readiness

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Over half of this year’s high school graduating class, a record number of students, took the ACT college and career readiness exam. The sobering exam results indicate that 60 percent of the high school graduates are at risk of not succeeding in college and careers:

ACT specifies that the minimum score needed in each of the four testing areas indicates that a student has a 75 percent chance of earning a grade of C or higher, or a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher, in typical first-year college coursework.

An analysis of this year’s scores also reflects disparities between the scores of Asian American and White students, most of whom met or exceeded the benchmarks except in science, and those of Black and Hispanic students, who were less likely to meet or surpass the benchmarks. Just one-third of all students met the science benchmarks.

ACT also surveyed students’ career interests, and found that the career areas of interest for students are not aligned with the kinds of jobs projected to be available over the next decade.

The study suggests several state policy recommendations to increase student preparedness. Suggestions include setting clear performance standards, ensuring monitoring and early intervention, and implementing ACT’s Core Practice Framework.

Read ACT’s analysis of the scores: The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Publications, Research