Posts Tagged ‘State of CTE’

Navigating the Stormy Waters of Career Readiness Data: New Report Highlights Opportunities for States to Improve their CTE Data Systems

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

How many girls of color earned an industry-recognized credential in Information Technology last year? What types of work-based learning experiences lead to the best wage outcomes for learners from low-income families? How many graduates from Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in advanced manufacturing go on to work in their field of study?

A strong, well-aligned data system allows State CTE Directors and other state leaders to answer these questions and more. But according to the latest State of CTE report, The State of Career Technical Education: Improving Data Quality and Effectiveness, these data systems are not meeting the need for data-informed decision making.

While the report finds that 86 percent of State CTE Directors believe improving and enhancing their CTE data systems is a priority, only 45 percent say they have the information they need to assist in making decisions about CTE program quality and other initiatives at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. Making decisions about CTE program quality and equity without sufficient data is tantamount to sailors navigating the stormy seas using old maps and constellations rather than modern GPS technology.

What is the cause for this gap?

For one, state data systems are not sufficiently aligned across the secondary, postsecondary and workforce sectors. According to the survey, less than half of State Directors say their CTE data system is “mostly” or “fully” aligned with secondary data systems, 28 percent with postsecondary data systems and 18 percent with workforce data systems.

Ensuring learners are prepared with the skills and experiences they need for high-wage, high-skill employment in in-demand occupations is a shared responsibility among secondary education, postsecondary education and the workforce sector. Yet too many states continue to use disparate data systems for collecting, validating and accessing learner-level data. Using disparate systems not only increases the data collection burden for local leaders but also threatens the quality of the data and the ability of state leaders to use their data effectively.

Another critical challenge is improving the methods for collecting and validating learner-level data. Too many states rely on self-reported information without confirming that learners successfully completed a work-based learning experience, verifying that the industry-recognized credentials reported on school data submissions were awarded by credential providers, or documenting that learners earned postsecondary credit for completing dual or concurrent enrollment in high school.

Notably, 61 percent of states say they use student surveys – which have notoriously low response rates and are difficult to validate – to determine whether secondary learners go on to meaningful employment after they graduate. Thirty-three percent report the same for postsecondary learners.

This information is not easy to obtain and requires clear data sharing partnerships with employers, credential providers and other state agencies. But improving the methods of collecting and validating CTE data gives critical decision makers confidence in their use of data and ensures learners, educators and community members can trust decisions that are made on their behalf.

There are clear skies ahead, however, if states leverage implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) to improve the quality and effectiveness of their career readiness data. Perkins V pushes states to improve data collection and reporting and make more data-informed decisions about CTE program quality and equity. As states begin the months-long process of vision setting, stakeholder engagement and plan development for Perkins V, they should consider the opportunity to improve their CTE data systems by auditing their current practices, establishing and formalizing data-sharing partnerships, and embedding data-informed decision making in policy and practice.

Equipped with strong, well-aligned data systems that are reinforced by trusted methods of collecting and validating data, State Directors can use their data to chart out a path to success for learners in their state. Otherwise the institutions, learners and communities they serve will be left unmoored.

The State of CTE report is based on a national survey of State Directors and examines how states are collecting, validating and using career readiness data. This resource was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. This resource was developed in partnership with the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, a project of the National Skills Coalition, and the Data Quality Campaign.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Research, Resources
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Alternative Certification Alone Will Not Solve CTE Expert Shortage

Friday, December 16th, 2016

New Report Describes State Efforts to Increase Access to Industry Experts in High Schools

state of cte industry expertsAs interest in Career Technical Education (CTE) continues to increase, the need for experts qualified to help ensure students gain the real-world experiences they need for success increases as well. Individuals with industry expertise provide a perspective to students that traditional academic teachers may be unable to offer, and can also help students explore and connect with particular career opportunities. Unfortunately, there is a national shortage of these experts working in schools.   

Today Advance CTE released a report examining the shortage of industry experts in secondary classrooms and how to address it. This report was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Advance CTE, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research, carried out two surveys: one of 47 State CTE Directors and one of 260 local CTE teachers and administrators from 26 states.

The surveys revealed that, while many states use alternative certification policies to bring industry experts into schools as full-time teachers, those policies do not fully address the problem. Alternative certification policies may work well for industry experts who are already willing to change careers and go into the classroom full-time, but there are other options that better meet the available capacity of industry experts still working in their field. These strategies include allowing experts to teach part-time or co-teach with a fully certified teacher of record, which gives students the benefit of their industry-specific knowledge without requiring the expert to give up their job in industry or go through the same rigorous and time-consuming preparation of a fully certified teacher.

alt cert state of cteOther states have policies that encourage experts to give their time in non-instructional roles, such as through career coaching and mentorships. Many states have articulation agreements with postsecondary institutions and use those to share faculty, which can include industry experts. Fewer states use incentives to attract experts to the teaching profession.

Using the data collected from the surveys, Advance CTE developed several recommendations for state leaders to consider. First, states should develop policies and initiatives that go beyond full-time alternative certification policies to allow for a broad range of options for industry expert involvement. States can do more to leverage their articulation agreements with postsecondary institutions to give secondary students access to industry experts teaching at the postsecondary level. Importantly, states must work to increase awareness of all of these opportunities within industry. Finally, states should consider how to deliberately coordinate and streamline disparate recruitment strategies so as to maximize their collective impact.

For more information, look out for an invitation to a webinar discussing this paper, which will take place on January 9 at 3 pm ET and feature an in-depth look at Nebraska’s strategies for increasing access to industry experts.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Research, Resources
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