Posts Tagged ‘Data’

Resetting Perkins V Performance Levels: A Q&A with the Michigan Department of Education

Friday, February 19th, 2021

In 2020 the Michigan Department of Education began the process of revising its State Determined Performance Levels (SDPLs) for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. This blog post features a discussion with Dr. Jill Kroll, Supervisor for the Grants, Assessments, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, and Dr. Yincheng Ye, Research Consultant, at the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education.

Michigan is one of the first states to make adjustments to its Perkins V SDPLs as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Can you explain what changes you are proposing and why? 

We are proposing to reduce our SDLP for 3S1—Secondary Post-Program Placement from 95 percent to 75 percent for 2020-2021 and to 80 percent for 2021-2022, returning it to the original SDLP of 95 percent in 2022-2023.

Our reasoning for requesting this change is that we expect that student placement in both employment and continuing education will be adversely affected by the pandemic. This is based on a review of employment projections from the University of Michigan, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, and research reports and other reports indicating a reduction in postsecondary enrollment, especially among first-year college students and low-income students.

We also requested and received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for reporting the academic indicators 2S1 and 2S2 because our state did not administer the 11th grade tests in Spring 2020, which will affect the data for students graduating in Spring 2021. We are awaiting the decision on the Spring 2021 assessments. If our state receives a waiver for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the waiver will also apply for Perkins (Our state already had a waiver from reporting the Science indicator 2S3 because we have a new assessment).

We did not feel that we needed a waiver for our indicator of program quality, 5S1—Attained Recognized Postsecondary Credential because our SDPL was already set quite low in our state plan due to the fact that we will be phasing in approval of credentials over several years. This info page for our State Board of Education and for public comment summarizes the proposed changes and includes citations for our evidence.

With conditions changing so rapidly under the Coronavirus pandemic, projecting data over the next few years can be like trying to hit a moving target. How were you able to make these projections work?

We were lucky that the University of Michigan produces solid quarterly economic and employment projections. We participated in several webinars beginning in Spring 2020 on the economic impact of the pandemic so we were aware of the resources available. We felt that it was important to follow procedure and propose reduced SDPLs where appropriate, and take the proposed levels for public comment, even if we had to base the proposed levels on estimated impact.

How are you explaining to the public why Michigan’s SDPLs need to be adjusted? 

We cited the available data. We found, during the initial public comment period for our Perkins V state plan, that stakeholders and the public were very receptive as long as we provided our reasoning for our recommendations, so we anticipate the same will be true for our proposed modifications. Here is what we have listed on the info sheet for public comment:

Both employment and postsecondary enrollment have been negatively influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown in 2020. The Post-program Placement indicator needs to be adjusted to reflect these impacts.

States have to go through the same public comment process to adjust their SDPLs as when they first developed their Perkins V plans. How has this process been similar or different to the original public comment period? 

We are following the same process as we did for our Perkins V state plan, presenting the proposal to stakeholder groups, taking the recommendations out for virtual public hearings, and publicizing the public comment opportunity through an online survey on our website. We also had to present to our State Board of Education prior to the public comment period and will have to present to them again after public comment, including the public comments.

What advice would you give states that are considering whether or not to change their Perkins V SDPLs? 

My advice would be to continue to regularly review the data related to each of the indicators. If it appears that the pandemic (or any other unanticipated circumstance) may affect the state’s ability to meet the SDLPs, develop a timeline for revising the SDLPs and then do it. I think it is important that school districts feel that the SDLPs are fair and reasonable and if they are unattainable due to circumstances outside the control of the districts and/or colleges they lose their value as engines of program improvement. I also think it is important for state offices to do our due diligence to maintain the faith and trust of our educators, districts, colleges and the public.

My other recommendation is to plan, plan, plan. A timeline is critical. As soon as we realized we needed to revise our SDLP we did two things. First, we contacted the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at USED to verify that we could adjust the SDPL and to get the deadline for submitting the adjustment. Contact information for OCTAE Perkins Regional Coordinators is listed here. Second, we immediately worked out a timeline (this was in August) and quickly realized how long the process would take, with two State Board Meetings required as part of the process. It was only because we worked out the timeline so early that we will be able to make the OCTAE deadline for revising state plans and SDPLs on May 21.

Today, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education released Mitigating Unanticipated Circumstances: Resetting Perkins V State Determined Performance Levels During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a guide to help states revise their Perkins V SDPLs. Dr. Kroll served on the workgroup that helped produce the guide.

By Austin Estes in COVID-19 and CTE, Publications, Resources
Tags: , , , ,

State of CTE: Data Quality in Perkins V State Plans

Monday, February 8th, 2021

In an education and workforce landscape that is more complex than ever, quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programming provides students with experience and skills that can lead to high-value jobs and lifelong success. The passage of the Strengthening Career Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) pushed states to improve quality and increase equity within their CTE systems, including setting higher expectations for how states are using data about CTE programs to understand the outcomes of students they serve. In October 2020, Advance CTE released “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of States’ Perkins V Priorities,” which examines how states have leveraged the opportunities create by the updated law to meet their CTE goals, including whether states have prioritized investments in data to ensure that they can answer priority questions and measure progress toward those goals. While many states are making improvements to CTE data, more can be done to ensure that these efforts result in meaningful information for all stakeholders.

Perkins V Creates A Foundation for Better Data Practices.

Perkins V puts greater emphasis on the importance of data as a core element of good policy-making, including: 

States should embrace and thoughtfully implement all of these activities and continue to go beyond what is outlined in the law to enhance the quality and availability of CTE data, and to build trust and fuel the feedback loops that help demonstrate program efficacy. With better information, leaders, practitioners and learners will have the capacity and confidence to make data-informed decisions that result in better outcomes. 

States Are Taking Steps to Improve the Availability and Usability of CTE Data.

Based on Advance CTE’s analysis of state Perkins V plans, a number of states are prioritizing data in their implementation of Perkins, including:      

Key Innovations

The Work Ahead

Many states are embracing the opportunities afforded to them under the new law, yet more work lies ahead. Improving CTE data affects not only the field of CTE, but the full education to workforce (P-20W) ecosystem within a state with which CTE is interconnected. As states plan for next steps when it comes to investing CTE resources, they should:

Resources

Christina Koch, Policy Associate
Jane Clark, Associate Director, Policy and Advocacy, Data Quality Campaign 

 

By Christina Koch in Public Policy, Research
Tags: , , , , ,

Challenges & Opportunities to Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Reflections from the PAYA Data Work Group

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

Apprenticeship in the United States is an under-utilized but promising education and employment strategy — particularly for youth whose connections to college and paid work are even more tenuous due to the COVID-19 economic crisis. In 2018, New America launched the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), a national network of partners (including Advance CTE), states, local intermediaries and philanthropies to define and scale up high-quality youth apprenticeships nationwide. In just a couple short years, the network has made incredible progress, sowing the seeds for future programs.

But through all of this work, data quality has emerged as a persistent challenge for states as well as local intermediaries. Improving the quality and availability of youth apprenticeship data can help PAYA network partners evaluate program quality, address gaps in equitable access and outcomes, and make the case for further investment in youth apprenticeship. But building the infrastructure to collect, validate, warehouse and analyze youth apprenticeship data can be costly and time intensive. 

To dig deeper into this challenge, Advance CTE and New America organized a practitioner workgroup on youth apprenticeship data quality in early 2020. The workgroup met several times throughout 2020 to discuss the following questions: 

The workgroup’s conclusions are summarized in a new report, Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities. The report addresses five challenges with improving youth apprenticeship data quality and several promising strategies to mitigate data roadblocks: 

  1. Determining what to measure: Some states have taken the guesswork out of data collection by establishing statewide business rules for collecting youth apprenticeship information. But in others, local intermediaries are left to their own devices, leading to inconsistencies in how youth apprenticeship data is collected. State and local leaders should work to develop and adopt consistent definitions and business rules for collecting for youth apprenticeship data. 
  2. Clarifying roles and responsibilities: Another challenge is clarifying who is collecting what data in the first place. Because youth apprenticeship involves partnerships across the K-12, postsecondary and workforce systems — with state agencies, intermediary organizations and employers in the mix — clarifying roles and responsibilities for collecting and sharing data early on is important. Local intermediaries can coordinate this process, ensuring all partners are aware of their responsibilities. 
  3. Building the infrastructure: Collecting and warehousing data can require costly technology. Building out an entire data system before launching a new youth apprenticeship program might not be feasible, but state and local leaders should establish systems and processes at the beginning that can be scaled easily. They can also leverage existing systems — such as student information systems housed at the school district or college — or develop new tools to minimize the data collection burden on educators and employers. 
  4. Accessing data: Privacy rules, data transfer limitations and incompatible data systems can, at times, limit access to data for youth apprenticeship participants. To ensure that all relevant partners can access the data they need, intermediary organizations should establish data sharing agreements that specify what information will be shared and in what format as well as the process and frequency for sharing this information. States can facilitate this process by developing local data sharing templates and demystifying rules and regulations for data sharing. 
  5. Scaling and sustaining: Finally, the workgroup elevated challenges with bringing data collection processes to scale as youth apprenticeship programs expand statewide. State leaders play an important role in supporting the sustainability and scale of youth apprenticeship programs by streamlining data collection processes, integrating youth apprenticeship data into existing state databases, providing sustainable funding, and offering professional development opportunities to build the capacity of frontline actors. 

 

Data is rarely among the first priorities in setting up a new youth apprenticeship program, but it should be. With reliable and valid youth apprenticeship data, states and local intermediaries can help scale quality programs that expand college and career options for high school students and meet the training needs of employers and industry.. The report Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities outlines the most common barriers to improving youth apprenticeship data quality and provides actionable recommendations for states and local intermediaries to strengthen the reliability, validity and use of their data. 

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

By Austin Estes in Publications, Resources
Tags: , ,

How States Are Pushing the Envelope on Postsecondary CTE Data Quality

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

Advance CTE Announces New State-led Initiative

Even before the passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) in 2018, nearly every State CTE Director said that improving the quality and use of CTE data was a top priority in their state. Now, with Perkins V implementation fully underway and COVID-19 (coronavirus) impacting education delivery, it is more important than ever for states to have access to high-quality, actionable CTE data. 

In this environment, Advance CTE is excited to announce the Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (PDI), generously supported by the ECMC Foundation. Through the initiative, five grantees will receive grant funding, technical assistance and access to a national peer learning network to examine critical problems of practice and implement innovative solutions to improve the quality and use of postsecondary CTE data. Participating states and agencies include: 

Each of the five grantees is well positioned to either accelerate existing work around CTE data quality or push the envelope in new and creative ways. Alabama aims to improve the accuracy of postsecondary CTE enrollment data through the use of its new P20W data system. Delaware strives to implement a new performance accountability model to enhance data linkages and expand access to postsecondary career pathways statewide. Florida is focusing on developing new data models and collection procedures for postsecondary work-based learning programs. The District of Columbia will maximize peer and specialist support to advance its postsecondary CTE data system, which is in its early stages. Oregon will focus on improving data collection and sharing to monitor outcomes for learners in short-term credentialing programs, particularly groups severely impacted by the Coronavirus.  

Over the next two years, grantees will work together as a peer learning network to develop, test and scale innovative strategies. Throughout the initiative, Advance CTE will share promising practices and lessons learned with the field through a series of blogs, webinars, presentations, publications and tools. 

Data is a powerful tool to improve equity and access and strengthen program quality. But it takes leadership and a coordinated strategy to make data work for learners. Advance CTE is excited to work with these states through the PDI to push the envelope on postsecondary CTE data quality. To learn more about the PDI, visit https://careertech.org/initiatives

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research 

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Announcements
Tags: , ,

Beyond the Numbers: Tools and Strategies for Effective CTE Data Reporting 

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes once famously said “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Without access to reliable, high-quality and timely data, it is impossible for learners, families, industry representatives, practitioners and policymakers to make informed decisions about CTE program development, improvement or participation. 

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) pushes states to improve the public accessibility of Career Technical Education (CTE) data. According to the law, state agencies, as well as local recipients, must share data on the performance of all CTE students, and subgroups of learners, and make this information available widely and through a variety of user-friendly formats.

But judging by the current state of CTE reporting, states have a lot of work to do to make CTE data accessible and actionable to a broad audience. Some of the challenges of state CTE reporting include: 

Many of the current CTE reporting challenges result from a lack of time and intentionality, but the good news is that Perkins V gives states an opportunity to hit restart and reimagine their approach to public reporting and communication with a focus on accessibility and understanding. In March, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of state and national experts to explore strategies for effective CTE data reporting and communication. Over a series of meetings, the workgroup co-designed a set of tools and resources to help states improve their CTE data reporting. 

CTE Reporting Tools Should Draw From Best Practices for Design and Usability

State leaders can look to best practices in data visualization and accessibility to ensure their CTE reporting tools are widely accessible and equip users to make the most of the data. 

The report Beyond the Numbers: Design Principles for CTE Data Reporting provides nine principles for developing effective and accessible CTE data reporting tools: 

  1. Clarify the purposes for sharing data
  2. Make data easy to find
  3. Make data visually appealing
  4. Clearly and consistently label and describe data
  5. Make data accessible
  6. Disaggregate data to highlight equity
  7. Provide context to add meaning
  8. Enable interactivity and customization for key audiences
  9. Help users interpret data and take action

State and local leaders can use these design principles as a blueprint to inform the early design and development of CTE data reporting tools or as a checklist to ensure their final reports align with best practices for access and usability. 

States Should Develop a Plan to Communicate CTE Data

Effective data reporting, however, requires not just well-designed and accessible reports but also a strategy to build understanding among the general public and key stakeholders. What good is data if it isn’t used? Yet state CTE offices are asked to attend to multiple priorities — from program review to professional development to equity monitoring — and communicating CTE data all too often is moved to the backburner. 

Beyond the Numbers: A Toolkit for Communicating CTE Data is designed to build state capacity for communicating CTE data and integrating compelling CTE statistics into a broader CTE communications plan. The toolkit breaks down six steps for communicating CTE data, from identifying a strategic goal and audience, to creating materials, to building an action plan. The toolkit also includes models and templates states can use to build engaging infographics, presentations and other materials to communicate their data. 

Effective Data Reporting Takes Time — States Should Plan Ahead 

States have a long runway to prepare for Perkins V reporting. They are not required to submit data on CTE performance to the U.S. Department of Education until next year, and many states will not publicly report Perkins V data to stakeholders until after that time. 

Still, it takes time to design, develop and invest in high-quality and effective CTE data reports and tools. State leaders should be thinking about their approach to CTE data reporting now so they have the tools and resources ready to share with key stakeholders when the time comes. Until then, states can refer to the design principles and communications toolkit to draw on best practices for their CTE reporting and communications strategies. 

Advance CTE would like to acknowledge the support of ACTE, Next Chapter Communications and the CTE Data Reporting and Visualization Shared Solutions Workgroup in the development of these materials. These resources were produced with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources
Tags: , ,

Middle Grades CTE: Data and Measurement

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

There is widespread agreement that high school is too late to begin to expose learners to careers and the foundational skills needed to access and succeed in careers, but there remains a lack of consensus about what CTE and career readiness should entail at the middle grades level.

Advance CTE, with support from ACTE, convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of national, state and local leaders to identify the core components of a meaningful middle grades CTE experience. This collaboration resulted in Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE and a companion blog series exploring each of the core programmatic elements of middle grades CTE defined in the paper. In this seventh entry in the blog series, we will examine the core programmatic element of data and measurement.

As states and districts are working to expand their middle grades CTE programs, it is critical that they are able to measure the effectiveness of those programs to ensure continuous program improvement process and that resources invested are having the desired impact on student achievement. Yet, there are few policies and mechanisms in place to date to collect meaningful middle grades CTE data. As more attention and resources are focused on middle grades CTE, state and local leaders should dedicate time and attention to identifying effective strategies for measuring whether students have achieved established standards, gained skills and other key outcomes as a result of middle grades CTE courses and activities.

As part of its teacher evaluation system – DPAS II – Delaware requires all teachers to bi-annually develop goals for instruction based on the state’s framework for teaching. The state has created specific guidance and tools for middle grades CTE teachers on how they can establish clear, measurable goals that are aligned with their schools’ focus and priorities and CTE performance data. The system intentionally is linked to the state’s high school college- and career-ready accountability framework, and requires middle grades teachers to focus on goals around Perkins indicators and employability skills. Middle grades CTE teachers must also identify which populations of students will be impacted, which standards and skills will be taught and attained, and how they will assess student growth. The state provides the framework, but teachers work directly with their building administrators to identify and finalize those goals that will support their own professional growth, as well as the growth of their students.

As a way of monitoring and collecting critical information on instruction and skills development, Utah requires each local education agency to submit an End of Year Summary. This reporting mechanism requires local districts to describe how the College and Career Awareness requirement was delivered, how it was integrated with other subjects, what teachers were involved, how the required workplace skills were addressed and demonstrated by students, which Career Technical Student Organizations were explored and how, what work-based learning experiences were offered, and how teachers and counselors collaborated to advance middle grades students’ college and career awareness. Starting in 2021, districts will be required to upload artifacts to provide more evidence.

In terms of reporting and accountability, North Dakota includes participation data for both grades 9-12 and grades 6-8, disaggregated by the 16 Career Clusters, on its annual CTE fact sheet.  And, Georgia is one of the few states that includes some indicator of career readiness in its statewide accountability system, with the percentage of students earning a passing score in a career exploratory course at middle school level as one of the “beyond the core” readiness indicators for middle schools.

Key reflection questions for state and local leaders as they build or evaluate this element of middle grades CTE programs include:

For additional resources relevant to CTE educators in the middle grades, check out the Middle Grades CTE Repository, another deliverable of this Shared Solutions Workgroup.

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Middle Grades CTE
Tags: , , , , ,

What Do State CTE Directors Want to Learn from the Research Community?

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Career Technical Education (CTE) is gaining widespread interest and support from state policymakers, who see it as a strategy to expand access to opportunity and meet employer needs. Between 2014 and 2018, states enacted roughly 800 policies related to CTE, and in 2019, workforce development was one of the top education-related priorities mentioned by governors in their state-of-the-state addresses.

What’s more, in 2018 Congress passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which reauthorized the federal law for CTE and invests around $1.2 billion a year to strengthen and expand CTE programs. The law was enacted in July 2019 and will be in full effect in July 2020 after states submit their four-year plans for CTE to the U.S. Department of Education (see more about the Perkins V planning process here).

With CTE in the spotlight, State CTE Directors are working hard to improve quality and equity in CTE. But state CTE offices often do not have the staffing or resources to conduct rigorous program evaluations to learn what’s working and what needs improvement. By partnering with CTE researchers, State Directors can gain critical insights into the impact of CTE programs, policies and practices.

While the design, governance and delivery of CTE varies from state to state, there are several common questions and challenges across the country that CTE researchers can help address, particularly in light of Perkins V implementation:

Improving program quality: State leaders are working to improve CTE program quality by connecting secondary and postsecondary coursework, integrating academic and technical learning, aligning programs with labor market needs and expectations, and preparing learners to earn industry-recognized credentials of value. Tennessee, for example, recently revised its secondary CTE program standards and developed model CTE programs of study that meet statewide workforce needs. Answers to the following research questions would help fuel these efforts:

Ensuring equitable access and success in CTE: To reverse historical inequities in CTE, state leaders are using data to identify disparities and ensure each learner can access, fully participate in and successfully complete a high-quality CTE program of study. In Rhode Island, the Department of Education repurposed $1.2 million in state funds to launch an Innovation & Equity grant initiative, which provided resources to local recipients to recruit and support underrepresented student populations in high-quality programs. CTE researchers can help these efforts by addressing the following questions:

Improving the quality and use of CTE data: Most State Directors believe improving and enhancing their CTE data systems is a priority, but only 45 percent say they have the information they need at both the secondary and postsecondary levels to improve program quality. States like Minnesota (through the State Colleges and University System) are working to improve the validity and reliability of their data by collaborating with industry-recognized credential providers to obtain data for their students. CTE researchers can help state leaders improve data quality in two ways:

Fostering collaboration and alignment across state agencies: Supporting learner success requires cross-agency collaboration and coordination. State leaders are working to create seamless pathways by sharing data, coordinating program design, and braiding resources to achieve economies of scale. One example is Massachusetts, where Governor Charlie Baker established a cross-agency workforce skills cabinet to coordinate education, workforce, housing, and economic development. The following research questions would help accelerate the work in Massachusetts and other states:

Expanding career advisement opportunities: School counselors are the most trusted source of information on CTE and career options, and states are working to bolster their career advisement systems by reducing the counselor-to-student ratio, requiring each student to complete an individualized graduation plan, and developing user-friendly platforms for career exploration. In Oklahoma, for example, it is now policy for all students to identify their career and academic goals through the state’s new Individual Career and Academic Planning program. CTE researchers can help address the following questions:

As states chart a vision and path for the future of CTE, they can and should use their data to inform decisions. Researchers can help them collect and analyze high quality data to understand the relationships between CTE program elements and various learner outcomes. This can help them understand what is and isn’t working with current policy and practice and identify how to focus their efforts to improve quality and equity in CTE. In addition, researchers can help state directors plan and conduct rigorous evaluations as they roll out new CTE policies and programs. Over the next few months, Advance CTE and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) will feature a series of successful partnerships between states and CTE researchers and explore how those projects provided critical data and insights to inform state policy.

This blog series was co-authored by Corinne Alfeld at IES (corinne.alfeld@ed.gov) and Austin Estes from Advance CTE (aestes@careertech.org). IES began funding research grants in CTE in 2017 and established a CTE Research Network in 2018. IES hopes to encourage more research on CTE in the coming years in order to increase the evidence base and guide program and policy decisions. At the same time, Advance CTE has been providing resources to help states improve their CTE data quality and use data more effectively to improve CTE program quality and equity.

By Austin Estes in Research
Tags: , , , , ,

Partnering with Researchers Can Help State Leaders Build the Case for CTE

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

In Massachusetts, Career/Vocational Technical Education Schools (CVTE) are renowned for offering rigorous, high-quality programs of study across a variety of disciplines. While CVTE graduates have always experienced high rates of success academically and in their careers, state leaders in Massachusetts wanted to know whether these outcomes directly result from the CVTE model. In 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education partnered with Shaun Dougherty (at the time, a researcher at the University of Connecticut), and learned that CVTE students are significantly more likely to graduate from high school and earn an industry-recognized credential than similar students who were not admitted.

Demand for rigorous research on Career Technical Education (CTE) has increased as more policymakers ask questions about the impact on college and career readiness. State CTE Directors may be interested in similar questions as researchers (such as “Does CTE improve educational and career outcomes? Do different programs help different students? What types of programs offer students the highest economic returns?”) but may not think to seek out and collaborate with them or know how to prioritize among the many research requests they receive.

This blog series, a partnership between Advance CTE and the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) seeks to break down the barriers between State CTE Directors and researchers to encourage partnerships that can benefit both.

What Can Research with State Data Tell Us?

Research can be a powerful tool to help State CTE Directors understand what’s working, what isn’t working, and what needs to change. The findings described below provide examples of how strong partnerships between researchers and state policymakers can result in actionable research.

How Can States Use CTE Research to Improve Policy and Practice?

Here are a few things states can do today to start building a CTE research base:

Over the next several months, Advance CTE and IES will publish a series of Q&A blog posts with researchers and state CTE leaders talking about how their partnerships developed and what states can do to advance CTE research.

This blog series was co-authored by Corinne Alfeld at IES (corinne.alfeld@ed.gov) and Austin Estes from Advance CTE (aestes@careertech.org), with thanks to Steve Klein of Education Northwest for editorial suggestions. IES began funding research grants in CTE in 2017 and established a CTE Research Network in 2018. IES hopes to encourage more research on CTE in the coming years in order to increase the evidence base and guide program and policy decisions. At the same time, Advance CTE has been providing resources to help states improve their CTE data quality and use data more effectively to improve CTE program quality and equity.

By Austin Estes in Research
Tags: , , , ,

Equity in CTE Is Not Just About Access; States Have A Responsibility to Ensure Learner Success, Too 

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Making Good on the Promise: Ensuring Equitable Success Through CTEFinancial expenses, work commitments, developmental education and healthcare needs are some of the most common barriers to success for community college students, according to a survey by RISC. To minimize these barriers and bolster postsecondary credential attainment rates, Southwestern Community College (SCC) in Sylva, North Carolina has awarded 129 mini grants to help students address needs such as housing, transportation and educational expenses. 

The grants were issued as part of North Carolina’s Finish Line Grants program, which was started in 2018 using governor’s discretionary funds through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The program is administered by local workforce development boards in partnership with nearby community colleges and provides up to $1,000 per semester per student to address unexpected financial emergencies. 

The Finish Line Grant program, while relatively new, demonstrates the role states can play in removing barriers to success and supporting each learner — at the secondary, postsecondary or adult level — to achieve a credential of value and access an in-demand occupation with family sustaining wages. 

Advance CTE’s latest report, the fifth and final installment in the Making Good on the Promise series, explores other approaches states can take to ensure learner success through Career Technical Education (CTE), including: 

Throughout the Making Good on the Promise series, Advance CTE has explored state strategies to identify equity gaps, rebuild trust among historically marginalized populations, and expand access to high-quality CTE opportunities. 

But the work does not stop there. State leaders have a responsibility to ensure each learner is not only able to access CTE, but also feel welcome, fully participate in and successfully complete their career pathway. This means constantly monitoring learner progress and creating the conditions that are conducive for learner success. Making Good on the Promise: Ensuring Equitable Success through CTE aims to provide a roadmap for states to learn from promising practices and develop their own plans for achieving equity. 

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Research, Resources
Tags: , , , ,

Report Examines Differences between “Traditional” and “New Era” CTE

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Last week, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) released a report examining course taking and learner outcomes in CTE. The author used data pulled from the School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED), and looked specifically at CTE credits taken across 12 occupational areas from 1985 through 2013. The occupational areas were largely divided into two categories: “traditional,” which includes manufacturing, human services, transportation, construction, agriculture and public service; and “new era,” which includes engineering, computer science, communications, health care and hospitality.

The report found that while course taking in the “traditional” areas have either remained stable or declined over time, course taking for “new era” programs increased by 238 percent. The author also pointed to data that show while CTE students on average have outcomes on par with non-CTE students, that overall average masks differences in outcomes between students in “traditional” and “new era” programs, where those in the former are generally not experiencing the same positive outcomes and experiences as those in the latter.

The author recommends that policymakers address these gaps when developing CTE-related policies, and work to ensure that as CTE becomes more popular with more students, students who need higher-quality programs and more supports are not forgotten in a data system that still shows overall gains.

While this report contains a lot of valuable and interesting discussion, there are a few additional points to consider. What the report calls “new era” CTE are the program areas that represent growing industry sectors across the country, so the increase in course taking is an incredibly positive data point, worth celebrating. That finding validates that the field has been and continues to evolve to better meet the needs of the full economy. The occupational areas deemed “traditional” are still incredibly robust and vital fields but do not occupy the same share of the economy as they once did. For example, over 18 million jobs in 1980 were in the manufacturing sector, and that number declined to 12 million by 2013. The work is still rigorous and important, but increasing course taking in an area with declining job opportunities would not serve students or the economy well. CTE should encompass the entire world of work, not just a few limited fields.

An extremely important aspect of the report centers around data. State leaders continue to grapple with finding a better understanding of who is being served by the CTE system, and importantly, who is being served well. To date, states and locals have not been required under federal accountability systems to examine performance data by both student population and Career Cluster or program level to understand where programs are and are not having positive impacts. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) presents important opportunities to address this knowledge gap with intention, and states should take advantage.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1