Posts Tagged ‘Data’

Translating Insights to Action: Using Data to Identify and Address CTE Opportunity Gaps

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

State and local leaders should always center equity when making decisions related to Career Technical Education (CTE) to ensure that each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem. This approach is called using an equity lens. But without access to reliable, comprehensive and disaggregated data, it can be challenging to understand when and where equity gaps occur.

To help state and local leaders better access and understand their data, Advance CTE developed a suite of tools — including a dynamic and customizable dashboard — that can be used to facilitate a comprehensive CTE opportunity gap analysis process. After more than a year of development and piloting, Advance CTE is accepting applications for a Train-the-Trainer workshop on conducting an opportunity gap analysis in September. Registration for the training program closes this Thursday, August 12.

Opportunity Gap Analysis Dashboard ScreenshotThe CTE opportunity gap analysis training was piloted last summer in partnership with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Minnesota is organized into 26 consortia to implement the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), each representing the community or technical college and school districts in their service area. Each consortium sent secondary and postsecondary representatives to the pilot workshop.

The training was conducted in two parts. In the first session, participants learned about the CTE opportunity gap analysis process, a four-step, inquiry-based process to unearth, prioritize and address the most urgent CTE opportunity gaps.

Reflective Approach to Equity in CTEIn the second session, participants reviewed their own dashboards — which they prepared in advance with data from the state office — in order to identify learner subgroups that were over- or under-represented across different CTE programs compared to the overall learner population. Participants used a fishbone diagram to identify and map underlying root causes and reviewed intervention strategies and supporting evidence to target recruitment, enrollment and inclusivity of diverse learner populations in CTE. Using this information, they began to develop equity-focused action plans. The workshop, which was aligned with Minnesota’s Perkins V professional development series, was designed to help participants center equity in their Perkins V applications and action plans.

One lesson participants learned from the workshop is that too much data can be overwhelming. The dashboard helped local district and college leaders focus their attention on the data that matters the most and use that data to glean insights and take action.

Next month, Advance CTE is offering the CTE opportunity gap analysis training to state CTE leaders, free of charge. Selected participants will receive a five-hour training, access a suite of materials, and conduct their own opportunity gap analysis process in their own states. A stipend and technical support will be provided to support implementation.

The registration deadline is this Thursday, August 12. Applicants should be state CTE leaders with responsibility and influence over Perkins V administration, program design and approval, equity and inclusion, special populations, methods of administration and/or CTE data. Learn more at https://careertech.org/opportunity-gap and direct questions to Austin Estes at aestes@careertech.org.

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Resources
Tags: , ,

Improving CTE Data Quality: Information is Relevant, Timely and Disaggregated

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Career Technical Education (CTE) stakeholders — including families, employers and local practitioners at the secondary and postsecondary levels — need access to relevant and timely data to make informed decisions when it matters. For all the data CTE leaders collect, processing, cleaning and sharing relevant information can take a year or more, making it far less useful for practitioners on the ground. State leaders should ensure that information is relevant, timely and disaggregated so that stakeholders can understand and act on the data. This requires states to provide a comprehensive view of their career readiness system; differentiate reports by user; make data available when it matters; and disaggregate data by population, program and institution.

To improve the relevance and timeliness of CTE data, North Dakota created a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) that feeds data into public and internal data dashboards on a daily basis through PowerSchool, a data management system that all public school districts use to collect data on attendance, grades and other metrics. North Dakota’s postsecondary institutions also upload their data to the state’s SLDS, allowing for linkages between the K-12 and postsecondary sectors. These data dashboards provide stakeholders with timely information that they can use to make important education, career and policy decisions. 

The SLDS currently includes data on K-12 student demographics, attendance and enrollment, assessment performance, CTE participation, graduation and dropout rates, historical grades, and college and career readiness. The SLDS also includes postsecondary data on student enrollment, courses, performance, demographics and graduation rates. Workforce data such as wage and employment information are fed into the SLDS by Job Service North Dakota, the state’s workforce development agency. North Dakota’s SLDS also collects data on CTE participation, concentration and completion rates along with credential attainment. Soon, the SLDS will include data on work-based learning completion.

Through a public dashboard tool called Insights, policymakers, agencies, researchers and the general public can access data on preparation and outcomes for education and workforce training programs and use that data to make informed decisions. The reports generated on Insights are user friendly and easily accessible to the general public. Examples of reports and data that users can explore on Insights include the demand for a particular occupation, the average salary of that occupation, the CTE program of study that could lead to a career in that occupation, and which institutions offer that program.

The SLDS also provides data to the North Dakota Education Portal, a set of dashboards available to public school teachers and administrators that provide information on metrics such as predicted learner outcomes, high school and college readiness and historical learner data. The North Dakota Department of Education and its public postsecondary institutions have access to internal data on the North Dakota Education Portal, with levels of access differentiated by user. Additionally, the portal provides learners and families direct services such as access to transcripts and the ability to send transcripts to any postsecondary institution in the state or participating in the National Student Clearinghouse, thereby making applying to those institutions easier. High school students are also able to apply to North Dakota postsecondary institutions for dual credit enrollment and complete some first-year applications online through the student portal.

North Dakota’s SLDS and data dashboards equip stakeholders, including local CTE practitioners, to make data-informed decisions when it matters by providing data in a way that is timely, relevant and actionable.

Read the Advance CTE Case Study North Dakota: Data Dashboards to learn more about how North Dakota’s data dashboards have helped to foster a data- and information-rich culture throughout the state. For additional resources on improving the quality and use of career readiness data, check out the Career Readiness Data Quality microsite

This is the fifth edition in a series of Advance CTE data quality blogs to accompany Advance CTE’s latest releases, Career Readiness Data Quality and Use Policy Benchmark Tool and Data Quality Case Studies. For more resources on data and accountability in CTE, please visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

By Brian Robinson in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Staff Reflections from 2021 Spring Meeting Part 3: Celebrations and Challenges in Advancing Equity in CTE

Friday, April 30th, 2021

This post offers reflections from Advance CTE staff on key equity themes from our 2021 Spring Meeting. Visit Advance CTE’s Resource Center for additional resources on equity and access, career advisement and data and accountability. 

Using Data to Identify and Close Opportunity Gaps in Career Technical Education (CTE) Advance Equity in CTE

This year marked my fourth Advance CTE Spring Meeting, but it was not a typical spring meeting by any means. The backdrop of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic was present throughout, not just in the technology and virtual set up, but also in the conversations and session topics. The past year has thrown into stark relief the inequities across race, ethnicity, gender identity and socioeconomic status that have long been present in CTE. From the plenary panels down to breakout sessions and networking discussions, the question on top of everyone’s mind was how can we improve equity in CTE during and beyond the pandemic?

I had the pleasure of partnering with Jeralyn Jargo and Robb Lowe from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system office on a presentation about data and equity in CTE. Last year, Advance CTE worked with Minnesota to develop and conduct a multi-part workshop with consortium leaders — who represent both secondary and postsecondary CTE — to identify and act on opportunity gaps in their data. We worked with consortium leaders to develop data dashboards, conduct a root cause analysis, and review and select evidence-based strategies for action. As a result of the workshops, one consortium is now working on a pilot program to recruit Black men into the teaching profession, targeting a critical shortage of diverse educators. Later this year, Advance CTE plans to roll out the workshop training to its broader membership to help CTE leaders understand how to identify and address opportunity gaps in their own data.

Austin Estes, Data and Research Manager

 

Brave Dialogues for Equity in CTE 

As someone driven by equity in education, I was very excited that my first Advance CTE Spring Meeting was focused on equity in CTE. I had the opportunity to lead a workshop on facilitating brave dialogues in CTE. Brave dialogues encourage participants to be courageous and show vulnerability to engage in conversations focused on race and racism. These conversations are always important, but even more so today considering that issues related to systemic racism have dominated the national discourse over the past year. Within CTE, state leaders are anxious to address opportunity gaps that have long persisted in CTE along with tackling stigmas associated with CTE given its history of tracking marginalized learner groups into low-quality vocational programs. To address opportunity gaps and CTE stigmas, state leaders need to create the space for brave dialogues.

In the equity workshop, state CTE leaders shared challenges to engaging in brave dialogues within their state. Some common challenges include a hesitancy to acknowledge or confront CTE’s history with systemic racism or not having the language or resources to confidently speak about the challenges facing historically marginalized learners. In other cases, leaders are engaging in these conversations but are unsure of what actions to take in order to address equity related challenges. To support state CTE leaders, Advance CTE is developing an equity discussion guide to support these conversations. Built around a critical self-reflection framework, the guide supports state CTE leaders in helping their staff and local practitioners in building awareness of their own values, assumptions and biases; knowledge of how learner identities can impact their experience in CTE programs; and skills to apply their awareness and knowledge into equitable policy and practice. The equity discussion guide, due to be released in early summer 2021, will be accompanied by training workshops to support state CTE leaders in facilitating these brave dialogues. 

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

 

Leading with an equity lens 

This year was my first Advance CTE Spring Meeting and first ever virtual conference experience. This past year highlighted the inequities that continue to exist in CTE, education and workforce development and has left states with many questions about how to best increase equity in their CTE programs. 

Many of the sessions at Spring Meeting had an emphasis on the importance of increasing equity in CTE. My session, Leading with an equity lens, specifically went into depth about this topic and how to apply an equity lens so that all state CTE decisions, policies and practices attend to the individualized needs of learners and tackle systemic and institutional barriers to success. 

This session featured Jacque Treaster, Director of Dual Enrollment and Career & Technical Education, Montana University System and Jennell Ives, Director of Secondary Postsecondary Transitions, Oregon Department of Education who led participants through their work to improve CTE data systems and examine state policies and practices to ensure learners of all ages, races, genders and abilities are positioned for lifelong success.

When asked to share their equity successes, states mentioned creating a diversity, equity & inclusion group at the state level to offer professional development to state department of education employees and schools; emphasizing equity in legislation as a driver while also addressing it in the CLNA applications; and using special populations data to drive program and funding decisions. 

Despite these promising strategies, many equity challenges still remain for states, including challenges with hiring personnel representative of the learner population, how to best use data in decision-making and how to get others on board with seeing equity as an important state issue. 

Next, Jacque spoke about Montana’s work with their data to try and break down where their American Indian, rural, and economically disadvantaged learners are taking postsecondary courses and which program areas they are most likely to enroll in to ensure these populations are entering high-wage, high-skill career pathways. They are hoping that by continuing to take a closer look at the data, they will be in a better position to figure out where to pool more resources for those students.

Jennell then presented on Oregon’s equity work and how the support from the Governor and other top agencies in the state to focus on antiracism in education has encouraged a focus on identifying inequities in their data and stakeholder feedback, collaborating directly with communities and learners impacted directly by CTE decisions and creating an internal review process to check their work for an equity and antiracism lens.

Although there is still much work to be done, hearing from these speakers about their state’s approaches to equity left the audience with tangible ideas to further incorporate equity into their own work and priorities.

Christina Koch, Policy Associate

 

Advancing Equity Through Research Initiatives

In my first year as an Advance CTE staff member, I was excited to hear from a wide range of experts and panelists in our first virtual spring meeting. Despite the modified format, each person celebrated the successes our community has achieved this past year and highlighted obstacles and barriers that we have acknowledged and worked through. Through each of the panels and presentations, I heard a common theme of ensuring equitable access and participation from minoritized and marginalized populations. 

One presentation I moderated was a conversation with state and local leaders based on Advance CTE research regarding the importance of area technical centers (ATCs)- CTE-focused, non-degree granting institutions that often bridge the gap between secondary and other postsecondary institutions. Our research illustrated the role that ATCs could play, especially in post-secondary attainment, upskilling and reskilling as largely open-access, low-cost program options. A significant portion of the conversation focused on the unique opportunity these institutions have of increasing access to CTE programming for all learners. Both speakers highlighted how their institutions work to improve outcomes for minoritized groups and celebrate the diverse perspectives that come with recruitment and retention of a variety of populations.

Despite the research focus on equity for these institutions, and on equity in other sessions, it was also clear there is still work to be done. Each panelist I heard speak on equity offered challenges about centering equity as a key component of our work to ensure that each learner, regardless of race or background, can access CTE. For area technical centers, one particular challenge highlighted by speakers was the difficulty in recruitment and retention practices for marginalized groups. In future research initiatives, it is vital that we examine our data with an equity lens, asking probing questions about what it means for practices, policy, and programs to be equitable. We also plan to specifically feature best practices that elevate equity as a core component. While these steps will work towards our goal of highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion in each of our research initiatives, it is vital we continue to have conversations, like those held regularly at our Spring Meeting, to ensure that equity is not just highlighted, but celebrated.

Dan Hinderliter, Policy Associate 

 

Advancing Equity Through Career Advisement 

At this year’s Spring Meeting, equity was explored through a variety of lenses. My session facilitated a conversation on our vision to empower students to navigate their career journey through career advisement, featuring panelists from the Washington State Workforce Board and the Arkansas Department of Education discussing best practices to provide dedicated supports to historically marginalized populations. 

Sonja Wright-McMurray, the Senior Associate Director of the Division of Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the Arkansas Department of Education shared about one opportunity in Arkansas that aligned equity with career advisement systems, the College and Career Coach program. The College and Career Coach Component is designed to motivate and support Arkansas students and adults achieve their goals as it relates to college and career planning through intensive hands-on, programs and services. As part of the application process the state requires applicants to pay close attention or give “high priority” to students who are classified as “Special Populations”, as defined by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). 

At the time the state was looking to launch their career coach program, Arkansas was also engaged in the development of a statewide partnership with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition, which created collaborative relationships with agencies supporting special education, transition services and rehabilitation services. As a result, the state pushed all Career Coach programs to provide targeted services to students with disabilities as well as at least two other special population categories. 

The insights shared by the panelists reinforce the importance of collaboration to address learner needs as well as strong accountability processes for local systems to document equity-focused reforms and processes.. As state leaders continue their work on aligning career advisement systems I am excited to see how they integrate equity throughout the continuum. 

Jeran Culina, Senior Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Spring Meeting
Tags: , , , , ,

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 learners 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 learners 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 created 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: , , , , ,

 

Series

Archives

1