Posts Tagged ‘Early Postsecondary Opportunities’

CTE Research Review: Q&A with Shaun Dougherty on the Impacts of CTE Access on Learner Outcomes in Connecticut 

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

This research review series features interviews with three CTE researchers— Julie Edmunds, Shaun Dougherty, and Rachel Rosen — to highlight new and relevant Career Technical Education (CTE) research topics being pursued and discuss how state CTE leaders might leverage these to make evidence-based decisions. This series is conducted in partnership with the Career and Technical Education Research Network, which is providing new CTE impact studies and strengthening the capacity of the field to conduct and use rigorous CTE research.

For the final post in this series, Advance CTE caught up with researcher Shaun Dougherty to learn more about the outcomes of his study, The Effects of Career and Technical Education: Evidence from the Connecticut Technical High School SystemThis study took place at The Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS), an independent district of choice composed of 16 high schools where all students who attend the school participate in some form of CTE. The technical high schools in this study offer between 10 and 17 programs of study compared to the two to four typically offered at traditional comprehensive high schools. These findings suggest that student participation in CTE programs can improve graduation and college enrollment rates, and labor force participation, especially for male students. These findings should be meaningful to state leaders who are interested in improving CTE data quality to improve programming and learner supports.

How do your research findings advance the CTE field’s understanding of ways to better serve learners?

My findings in Connecticut and an earlier study in Massachusetts suggest that increasing access to high-quality CTE-focused schools can improve high school graduation rates, test scores, and early workforce experiences (earnings especially). These findings suggest that ensuring access to high-quality CTE is important, especially in areas where there is high demand for it among students. In Connecticut, we show that the benefits accrue to males only, but in Massachusetts, the impacts are broader-based and larger for students who come from less financially advantaged backgrounds. 

What is also important about both of these contexts is that students are attending CTE-dedicated high schools, which is the least common form of CTE instructional delivery in the United States. Students explore multiple programs in 9th grade and then make an informed decision about what program of study to pursue for the rest of their high school experience. Within the program they choose, they then have a relatively stable set of peers and instructors, and there is alignment between content in the state graduation requirements, such as math and English Language Arts (ELA), and their technical area of study. Each of these dimensions of the experience tends not to exist in CTE delivered in comprehensive high schools or regional technical centers.

What findings would you highlight for state CTE leaders in particular?

In particular, I’d highlight the following:

You find male students enrolled in Connecticut’s Technical High School System (CTHSS) are more likely to graduate high school and experience a notable wage increase compared to males attending traditional high schools, yet this effect is not seen among female students. What do you make of this finding? 

There are two things worth noting here:

Can you tell me about how you were able to leverage the state’s longitudinal data system, the value that this process brought to your work, and about any limitations you encountered??

We matched the CTHSS admissions records to the Connecticut State Department of Education’s (CSDE) longitudinal data system sequentially using the following criteria: SASID, exact match on first and last name plus birth year, first initial and exact match on last name plus birth year and month, and exact match on last name plus exact birth date. The reason for the sequential match process is reporting errors in the CTHSS application file on birth dates, spelling errors and uses of nicknames in the application file that parents and/or students fill out by hand. A failure to match after applying all of these criteria leads to the observation being omitted from the sample. Our resulting match rate was 95 percent yielding a final sample of 57,658 student applications.

From the CSDE longitudinal data system, we obtained information on each student’s race, gender, free or reduced-price lunch status, English learner and special education status (i.e. presence of an IEP).

The CSDE data also provided information on short- and medium-term educational outcomes including standardized test scores prior to and during high school, attendance, and high school graduation, as well as information on college attendance drawn from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Further, through the P20Win process, students in our sample were matched to Connecticut State Department of Labor (CSDOL) data. This CSDOL match is facilitated by Department of Motor Vehicle records that contain gender, birth date, and first and last name and is matched to the CSDOL data using social security numbers. CSDOL personnel then matched the resulting data to the CSDE data using an exact match on birth date and gender and a fuzzy match algorithm on the student’s name.

Failure to match applicants in the CSDOL data may have been driven by several factors including never having a driver’s license in the state of Connecticut, name changes due to marriage or other factors, moving out of state prior to or upon the completion of high school or failure to participate in the labor market after high school perhaps due to college attendance. Our labor market data ends in the 1st quarter of 2018. Therefore, we restrict this sample to the years 2006 to 2012 so that we have a potential for at least six quarters of data on each applicant.

Without the matching to the workforce outcomes, we would be left to wonder or speculate about what happened to most students, since there is no real evidence of impact on college-going (nor should we expect it early on for students who attended schools that emphasize manufacturing and skilled trades). Thus, the linkages were critical to being able to provide policymakers with relevant, detailed answers  

The primary limitation is that we cannot see workers who moved out of state, who were employed by the federal government, who work for unreported wages, or who are independent contractors. However, our takeaway is that our findings are likely an underestimate of the benefits of CTE. 

What new questions has this work raised for you that could be applied to future research?

The two biggest questions this work has raised for me so far are:

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for additional publications examining career-centered education models and Advance CTE’s 50-state report on equity in CTE early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) released earlier this year.

The work of the CTE Research Network Lead is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education with funds provided under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act through Grant R305N180005 to the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The work of the Network member projects is supported by the Institute. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

By Stacy Whitehouse in Research
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Guest Post: Virginia State CTE Director Reflects on Secretary Cardona Teacher Appreciation Week Visit

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

On Monday, May 2, 2022, Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) kicked off Teacher Appreciation Week at Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia. As the State Director for Career, Technical, and Adult Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia, I am reminded almost daily of the challenges school division administrators face to fill vacancies throughout the entire teaching profession. Filling teacher vacancies, particularly in critical needs areas, like Career and Technical Education (CTE), is mission critical to meet workforce demand. I was excited for Virginia to be chosen as a model to highlight the urgent need for a robust educator workforce, and how CTE  programs with robust supports that bridge secondary and postsecondary institutions can fill that need. 

This event highlighted the Richmond Teacher Residency (RTR) program. The teacher residency program is very similar to an apprenticeship. The power of the model was demonstrated during this visit,  where multiple graduates shared the impact of this program for their career. 

Despite overwhelming research that teacher quality is the most important school-based factor in student achievement — and that teacher impact on student learning is cumulative and long-lasting — historically marginalized students are typically taught by the least prepared, least experienced, and least effective teachers. RTR addresses this issue by preparing and retaining high-quality teachers to ensure that every student gets a quality education.

RTR is a school-based teacher preparation program that integrates research with practice to equip participants, known as residents, with the knowledge, skills, and experience to be effective in high-needs and hard-to-staff classrooms.  Participants emerge with a graduate degree in education from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), a teacher’s license, and a full year’s experience with a strong mentor teacher. Tuition is fully covered, and residents receive a $5,000 stipend with additional stipends available for those teaching in science and math fields. 

The outcome? Residents who are ready to step into the classroom as impactful teachers. Residents who are ready to take student learning to the next level. Residents who are ready to lift up communities — one classroom at a time. This program requires at least a three year commitment. One student highlighted has remained with his school for ten years.

In 2011-2012, the program began as the Richmond Teacher Residency Program serving only Richmond City Public Schools. In 2018, the program’s name was changed to RTR as  it expanded outside of Richmond city boundaries. With RTR, learning knows no boundaries. Now, RTR is serving four Virginia school divisions: Chesterfield County Public Schools, Henrico County Public Schools, Petersburg Public Schools and Richmond City Public Schools.

Our partnership with VCU will continue to grow. Up to this point, VCU has only offered a graduate level teacher residency program. VCU has not started at the high school level yet, but other states have through their teachers for tomorrow and educators rising programs. These classes are an introduction to teaching. Some instances have dual enrollment, so the credits can then apply to a degree in education. Currently, VCU is working on an undergraduate residency program where students would be in a school for a full year while they are getting their degree. I would love to see this program incorporated at the secondary level through Virginia teachers for tomorrow and educators rising. 

According to Kim McKnight, Director of the Center for Teacher Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University and executive director of RTR Teacher Residency, the program is only as strong as your weakest resident or mentor teacher, so it is critical to do an extensive interview, application, and matching process. Residents are the next generation of teachers and mentors grow a teacher in their classroom, so it is important they are both properly trained and have the dispositions needed for a career in education. A lesson learned is a shared cost investment from school divisions, state funding, local philanthropy and any other business partners will help for long-term financial sustainability. This model began with large federal grants but a shared cost is critically important.

Highlighting a program like RTR was a great way to kick off Teacher Appreciation Week in Virginia. As a relatively new CTE state director, it does not take long to figure out the importance of partnerships from secondary, postsecondary, higher education, and business and industry. Virginia is very fortunate to have the support from Senator Tim Kaine. Sen. Kaine is not only a supporter of RTR from its inception but a clear advocate for Career and Technical Education, understanding its role in meeting future workforce demand throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. 

Visit the RTR Residency web page for more information about the program. 

 

David Eshelman, Director, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Virginia Department of Education 

Kim McKnight, Director of the Center for Teacher Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University and Executive Director, RTR Teacher Residency

By Stacy Whitehouse in Communicating CTE
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New Report: 5 Strategies to Strengthen Equity in Early Postsecondary Opportunity Participation and Completion

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

Every year, more than 5.5 million secondary learners take advantage of Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSOs), including dual and concurrent enrollment and exam-based courses, like International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP). EPSOs aim to provide high school learners with an intentionally designed authentic postsecondary experience leading to officially articulated and transferable college credit toward a recognized postsecondary degree or credential. Career Technical Education (CTE) courses make up approximately one-third of all EPSO enrollments and are a critical component of a high-quality CTE program of study, bridging secondary and postsecondary learning. 

Advance CTE’s vision, Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education, calls on states to ensure that each learner’s skills are counted, valued and portable. At the state level, systems are needed to translate competencies and credentials into portable credit and to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to participate in high-quality and equitable EPSO programs. To this end, Advance CTE, in partnership with the College in High School Alliance, surveyed State CTE Directors to better understand state policies that support EPSOs in CTE. The survey revealed key findings, which subsequently led to recommendations for steps to better advance and support CTE EPSOs, ensuring equity and access to EPSOs for all CTE learners. To read more about the results of the survey and our resulting findings and recommendations, or to learn more about the following actions, read the executive summary and associated full report, The State of CTE: Early Postsecondary Opportunities.

To better ensure equitable access for all learners, particularly in CTE EPSO programs, states can take the following actions:

1.Identify and highlight equity goals in statewide EPSO programs and target specific learner populations for recruitment. States with statewide EPSO programs, particularly those with targeted equity goals, have been able to reduce equity gaps by adjusting funding and tuition models, standardizing entrance requirements, providing statewide navigational supports and centralizing articulation agreements. A critical review of state-level data, including conducting opportunity gap analyses, can allow states to target historically marginalized populations for participation while simultaneously ensuring that these learners have access to high-quality EPSOs. Utah has a long-standing statewide concurrent enrollment program that focuses on continuous improvement, particularly for learners of low income, who attend postsecondary institutions at more than twice the rate of learners of low income who do not participate in the program.

2.Increase publicly available and actionable information for learners and their families. Access to high-quality EPSOs for every learner is just one part of equity; equally important is ensuring that every learner is successful by increasing transparency around opportunities and outcomes in EPSOs, including providing state-level outcome data, navigation assistance and career advising throughout the EPSO experience. Increasing communication with parents and learners about available EPSOs, their requirements and available supports will help first-generation learners and under-served groups not familiar with the postsecondary process access these programs and know how the associated credit transfers. States like Indiana, Maryland, and Kentucky all have public dashboards that share both enrollment and outcome data, disaggregated by learner population and program type. Other states, like Massachusetts, aggregate their EPSO programs through an online catalog, with filters for subpopulations, to demonstrate the range of opportunities available statewide.

3.Identify and remove barriers to access, including restrictive costs or entrance requirements, and target specific learner populations for recruitment. Data demonstrates significantly higher gains for learners of color in dual enrollment programs compared to their peers not enrolled in EPSO opportunities. While states noted that scholarship and tuition supports reduce barriers to entry, burdensome entrance requirements and a lack of information about EPSOs limit a learner’s ability to participate. For example, Tennessee’s statewide EPSO program offers grants that allow learners to take up to 10 dual enrollment courses for free. As states look to increase postsecondary attainment goals, they can leverage enrollment and outcome data to identify opportunity gaps and examine root causes, such as restrictive admissions requirements that may affect learners disproportionately. 

4.Increase supports for learners enrolled in EPSOs to ensure completion. While capacity challenges do exist, research indicates the value of early warning systems, counseling programs, and financial supports that remove or overcome barriers to completion. Statewide incentives can encourage districts to expand these types of systems that allow secondary learners to be successful in EPSOs. Alaska’s Acceleration Academy helps high school learners complete math or science courses over the summer to prepare them for participation in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, an EPSO partnership with the University of Alaska-Anchorage. 

5.Expand statewide and inter-state articulation agreements to account for all types of CTE EPSOs. Statewide agreements can help guarantee recognition of CTE EPSO credit and facilitate automatic transfer between a secondary institution and a corresponding postsecondary institution of the learner’s choice. Ensuring that the transfer of credit is as frictionless as possible is vital to supporting learners as they transition into postsecondary education and continue in a degree program. As states work to ensure that each learner’s EPSO experiences consistently are counted toward articulated credit, they should also ensure that this credit contributes to core credits in a CTE program of study and not just elective credit. States can develop additional guidelines and legislation that ensures the connection between an EPSO and a program of study. Ohio has Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAGs) that provide automatically articulated and transferable credit upon completion of CTE coursework.

Visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center for additional resource related to specific EPSOs and equity and access supports.

Dan Hinderliter, Senior Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Advance CTE Resources, Public Policy
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A Learner-Centered Approach to Early Postsecondary Opportunities Amid COVID-19

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Now that the spring 2020 semester has come to a close, schools, colleges and learners across the country are left with the uncomfortable question: what happens next? Amid the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the U.S. has faced widespread school closures and an unprecedented – albeit clunky – transition to remote learning. Even as states begin to lift restrictions, the path ahead is still uncertain.

Last week the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) and Advance CTE explored some of the ways the Coronavirus has impacted – and will continue to impact – Career Technical Education (CTE) and Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSO), which include dual enrollment, dual credit, concurrent enrollment and other related opportunities. There is no silver bullet solution to these challenges, but state leaders and postsecondary institutions are already thinking of ways to minimize the impact on learners and, to the extent possible, to support continuity of learning through the summer and into the fall.

Hold Learners Harmless

One principle states and educational institutions should commit to is to hold learners harmless from the impacts of the Coronavirus, particularly the financial and academic burdens. States like Ohio have already taken steps to protect learners, issuing guidance that prohibits school districts from seeking reimbursement from students who withdraw from a postsecondary course due to Coronavirus-related disruptions.

Further, states are honoring students’ commitment to learning by giving them opportunities to earn credit for the work they have completed. In North Carolina, graduating high school seniors who are enrolled in EPSO courses will be given a passing grade – coded “PC19” to indicate the unusual circumstances of the pandemic – to ensure they can still meet graduation requirements. States like Georgia and Louisiana are giving learners additional time to complete course requirements over the summer.

Commit to Transparency

As states, higher education systems and local institutions adjust grading policies amid Coronavirus-related shutdowns, they must commit to transparency and provide clarity about how credit transfer will be supported. There are questions about binary grades and their impact on the transferability of EPSO courses to two-year and four-year institutions. States with guaranteed transfer acceptance and institutions with transparent policies for addressing binary credit offer students their best option. Some states have begun to release guidance on EPSOs including CTE dual credit opportunities, which NACEP has compiled here.

Don’t be Afraid to Innovate

States and institutions have adapted remarkably well to social distancing on a very short timeframe, but the hands-on, practical learning experiences that make CTE unique and compelling are often not easy to simulate in a remote or online format. That said, necessity is the mother of invention. Instructors and administrators have started finding creative solutions to maintain continuity of learning, from manufacturing products out of household supplies to distributing at-home lab kits. In Illinois, the Community College Board, Board of Higher Education and Illinois Articulation Initiative are allowing the transfer of credits for lab science course offerings that are delivered through nontraditional formats such as simulations, online labs or at-home science kits. In some cases, campuses are exploring ways to safely facilitate hands-on learning over the summer by cutting class sizes or offering intensive summer bootcamps – all while adhering to social distancing guidelines – to help learners make up missed hours.

Keep Equity Front and Center in Funding

As states face declining revenue and anticipate budget cuts in education and elsewhere, they must consider the critical role these programs play in their societal and economic recovery after the pandemic. Funding to decrease the cost of postsecondary education is an important equity lever to help ensure that the talent pipeline into high-skill, high-wage and in-demand occupations includes the entirety of their diverse communities. But a blanket approach to budget reduction, where all learners receive the same benefit, may imperil this approach.

States should analyze their EPSO funding with an equity lens and, when needed, make cuts that don’t disproportionately impact learners traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Increases in cost to the learner, driven by budget cuts, disproportionately impact learners from economically disadvantaged families who cannot absorb a change in cost like an affluent student can. As states assess the impact of this pandemic on education budgets, they should consider strategic changes to help under-resourced school districts, to address affordability for those students that are most price sensitive, and to look thoughtfully about ways to build access to those underrepresented in higher education. Focusing on equity will be critical to ensure budget cuts don’t exacerbate equity gaps in higher education and ultimately the workforce.

Recognize the Role in Recovery

As state and the national economy recovers and reconfigures, states will be looking to ensure they have a strong, robust talent pipeline to address their current, evolving and future workforce needs. There is a lot of uncertainty in forecasting what the labor market and economy will look like in the next three to five years, but it is certain that revitalizing state economies will depend on access to a skilled, educated workforce. States that have invested in career pathways approaches tied to workforce needs, have strong business and industry engagement in CTE, and strong connections between secondary and postsecondary education and industry already understand the value of these programs in driving the state economy. These relationships and a willingness to partner will yield dividends as states emerge from this crisis.

It is too early to measure the true impact of the Coronavirus on postsecondary readiness and credit attainment, but states and institutions can already anticipate some of the barriers that will come and take steps to address them. The time to act is now. States can and should clarify their policies on CTE EPSOs and ensure that the weight of school closures and learning disruption does not unnecessarily harm learners, particularly those who have the most to benefit from these opportunities.

This blog post is the second in a two-part series about the impacts of the Coronavirus on CTE dual enrollment. It was written by Amy Williams, Executive Director of NACEP, and Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research for Advance CTE.

By admin in COVID-19 and CTE
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COVID-19 Will Disrupt Early Postsecondary CTE Credit Attainment: Don’t Make Learners Bear the Burden

Monday, June 15th, 2020

The last weeks of March were a test of adaptability for the nation’s education institutions. Over the span of weeks, school districts, community/technical colleges and area technical centers had to amend remote learning policies amid unprecedented school closures. The rapid pace at which systems and institutions have adapted to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has been likened to turning a battleship at the pace of a speedboat.

Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSO) – which include dual enrollment, dual credit, concurrent enrollment and other related opportunities – play an important role in facilitating successful transitions between secondary and postsecondary education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately one-third of high school graduates take courses for postsecondary credit at some point during their educational careers. The integration of EPSO courses in Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways is creating options-rich, intuitive linkages between high school, college and career. This approach yields benefits to students, their families and their communities: earning postsecondary CTE credit in high school can lead to higher rates of college enrollment, persistence and success. But as schools, districts and colleges adapt to a new Coronavirus reality and a pervasive shift to online learning, where does that leave learners who are enrolled in CTE EPSO courses?

Coronavirus-related shutdowns put pressure on CTE EPSO courses in a number of ways:

The field has been quick to recognize these challenges, but given the decentralized nature of higher education – in most cases, articulation agreements for CTE credit are negotiated at the local level between individual districts and partner colleges – the response has been inconsistent and incomplete. This situation creates both challenges and opportunities.

So how can states respond to some of these challenges? Next week the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) and Advance CTE will explore some strategies to minimize the burden on students and honor their commitment to learning.

This blog post is the first in a two-part series about the impacts of the Coronavirus on CTE dual enrollment. It was written by Amy Williams, Executive Director of NACEP, and Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research for Advance CTE.

By admin in COVID-19 and CTE
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