Today in CTE research … a scan of career pathway models, a peek into employers’ views on competency-based education, recommendations to strengthen the teacher pipeline, and research into the labor market’s return on investment for higher education.
First up – MDRC’s new research, “New Pathways to Careers and College: Examples, Evidence, and Prospects”
Over the years, the high school reform debate has evolved to view CTE as a means to prepare all students for success in college and careers, and CTE programs are changing along with it. More programs are emerging that blend CTE, rigorous academic coursework and opportunities for career exploration. With that in mind, MDRC researchers took a first-ever scan of the most prominent career pathway models and their underlying principles, the localities where they are most popular, and some evidence of success.
At least one career pathway model can be found in high schools in virtually every state and most large cities, the researchers argue, and yet still only a small percentage of students are enrolled in pathways that include the key elements of success. Much work remains to scale programs that are anchored by infrastructure that ensures high-quality implementation, sustainability and continuous improvement.
NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green and Oklahoma State CTE Director Marcie Mack were among the national experts interviewed for this report.
The Pipeline of Teachers
ACT and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) have published new research that takes a closer look at the pipeline of future
teachers as well as how they fare during their first five years in the classroom.
In “The Condition of Future Educators 2014,” ACT examines which students are expressing interest an education career from administration to classroom teachers, and found that the number of students interested in becoming educators continues to drop significantly – just five percent of all ACT-tested graduates. There continues to be a lack of men and diversity among those who expressed interest in the profession. The study was based on the 57 percent, or 27,000 students, of the U.S. graduation class who took the ACT test in 2014.
Among the findings, just one percent, or 224 students, planned to make CTE teaching a focus of their postsecondary pursuits.
The report offered three recommendations to help drive more high-achieving and diverse students into the teacher pipeline:
- Recruit high-achieving college students who are undecided about their future careers;
- Promote alternative pathways to teaching; and
- Improve educator benefits.
At NCES, researchers provided a first look at the results of a nationally representative study of 2,000 teachers who entered the profession in 2007-08. After five years in the field, 17 percent of the teachers were no longer teaching, the study found. Salary was one of the greatest reasons why teachers remained in the profession. Education level had little impact. Those teachers who started with a $40,000 salary were more likely to still be teaching a year later.
Competency-based education (CBE) is gaining traction in communities across the country, particularly within higher education. But what do we know about how employers see it?
- Overall employer awareness of CBE was low despite engagement efforts;
- Those who were aware of CBE, a small minority, generally viewed the model and its graduates favorably;
- The lack of awareness correlated to employers’ lack of understanding the benefits of hiring graduates of CBE programs;
- Employers struggle to articulate discreet needs as competencies, and rather continue to hire based on generalizations of a new hire’s “fit”, which makes it difficult to create an effective competency map;
- Two-thirds of employers believe they could be doing a better job of identifying students with the specific skill set required for the job.
Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate