Posts Tagged ‘STEM’

Making the Case for a Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Submitted by CORD, 2021 Fall Meeting Sponsor

The nature of work is evolving right before our eyes. Technological advancements are transforming existing industries and creating new ones at an unprecedented pace. The World Economic Forum predicts significant disruption in the jobs landscape over the next four years. As many as 85 million current job roles may be displaced while more than 97 million new roles could emerge. Many of those roles will be enhanced by technologies that can collaborate with humans to enrich lives and workplaces in what the National Science Foundation (NSF) describes as the “future of work at the human-technology frontier.” Our challenge as state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders is ensuring future technicians acquire the expanding skill sets necessary for success in a rapidly changing environment. 

Through the NSF-Advanced Technological Education (ATE) supported initiative, Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work, staff at the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) led a series of research activities designed to identify the knowledge and skills that will be essential for future STEM techniciansThis work has resulted in the Framework for a Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core (The Framework), a set of recommendations for technician education that incorporate knowledge and skills such as Advanced Digital Literacy, Data Knowledge and Analysis, and Business Knowledge and Processes into technician preparation programs. These core content areas are essential to future success in STEM fields because they transcend narrow job specialization and enable technicians to adapt to a complex employment environment. Topics within these areas have been prioritized by educators and industry leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Framework offers practical recommendations for implementation, with regional customization, by any community college technical program. Steps toward adoption of the Framework include:

Download the Framework today and discover ways you can advocate for adoption of the Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core in your state.

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Fall Meeting, Resources
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Research Review: Promising Practices for Reducing Racial Disparities in Academic Outcomes

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

Gaps in academic outcomes between learners of color and their White peers is a challenge that continues to perplex education leaders. Two new studies highlight promising practices for how states can begin to narrow racial disparities in academic outcomes and better prepare learners for the transition to postsecondary education through strong academic support and quality career and academic advising. 

Removing Barriers to Gateway Courses 

Academic and technical proficiency are both essential for career readiness. Career Technical Education (CTE) secondary learners who pursue postsecondary education are required to demonstrate academic proficiency while completing technical coursework. However, traditional postsecondary placement models can be a barrier to learners, extending both the time and costs of completing a program of study, and ultimately serve as a deterrent for learners pursuing a postsecondary degree. 

In a recent study, researchers at Florida State University examined how Florida reformed its introductory college-level course placement policies and the impact the reform had on learners of color. Prior to 2013, Florida postsecondary students scoring below college-ready on a statewide placement test were required to take at least one developmental education course. Nearly 70 percent of first-time-in-college learners were required to take these developmental education courses based on their placement test scores, with Black and Latinx learners being overrepresented compared to White learners. Learners had to pay tuition to enroll in these courses without  receiving credits, and the courses did not count towards degree requirements. Furthermore, learners were required to successfully complete developmental education courses before they were allowed to enroll in for-credit gateway courses such as English and math. 

After the Florida legislature passed Senate Bill 1720 (SB 1720) in 2013, learners who entered a Florida public high school in the 2003-2004 school year or later and graduated with a standard high school diploma were presumed to be college-ready, were exempt from college placement testing and developmental coursework, and could enroll directly into gateway English and math courses. The passage of SB 1720 also reformed developmental education courses overall by requiring colleges to design them in a way that better meets the needs of learners in the following ways:

These reforms allowed learners who choose to enroll in developmental courses the opportunity to complete them faster, only enroll in the courses they needed, and complete their education on-time. Additionally, under SB 1720 colleges were required to reform their advising services, which increased learner awareness of developmental course options along with other academic services such as tutoring.  

Comparing three cohorts of learners who had enrolled in a Florida postsecondary institution prior to SB 1720 (Fall 2011 – Fall 2013) and three cohorts of learners after SB 1720 (Fall 2014 – Fall 2016), researchers found that after the passage of SB 1720, the percentage of first-time college students enrolled in gateway math and English courses increased overall for learners; however, gains were most significant for learners of color and outpaced the growth of White enrollment by 15 percentage points. 

Similarly, the percentage of learners who passed the introductory college-level courses increased across the board; however, the gains were much more pronounced for learners of color when compared to their White peers. 

The findings from this study indicate that traditional postsecondary placement models may be underestimating the ability of learners to be successful in college-level courses, particularly learners of color who are overrepresented in developmental education.

STEM Dual Enrollment Leading to College Persistence

Another study by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) illustrates the importance of dual enrollment courses in reducing racial/ethnic gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program outcomes. About one-third of CTE high school concentrators pursue a program of study in the STEM Career Cluster, reaffirming that high-quality CTE programs can provide a strong foundation for and serve as a delivery system of STEM competencies for a broader range of learners. 

CCRC found that when Florida high school learners enrolled in college-level algebra courses through dual enrollment, they were more likely to pursue and persist in STEM programs in their first year of college compared to learners who did not participate in dual enrollment. When disaggregated by race/ethnicity, the study found that, even though dual enrollment algebra learners were much more likely to be White, Black and Latinx learners who enrolled in dual enrollment courses were much more likely than White learners to enroll and persist in STEM programs in college. 

Conclusion

Taken together, these studies suggest promising practices that can narrow racial/ethnic academic achievement and opportunity gaps and prepare learners for success along their career pathway. The research demonstrates how increased access to introductory college-level courses, strong academic supports, quality career and academic advising, and access to college in high school programs can have significant access and equity implications and begin reducing disparities in outcomes for Black and Latinx learners. 

For more information on advising and dual enrollment, please visit the Learning that Works Resource Center. 

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

By Brian Robinson in Uncategorized
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HEA in Practice: Title III HSI STEM Articulation Grant

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Title III of the Higher Education Act (HEA) is the main source of institutional level funding in HEA, primarily supporting minority-serving colleges. Title III authorizes the Hispanic Serving Institutions Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics and Articulation Program (HSI STEM). An institution is categorized as an HSI if at least 25 percent of the full time undergraduate students are Latino. As of the 2016-2017 school year, HSIs include 65 percent of Latino undergraduate students and 15 percent of colleges and universities across the country, and these number will continue to increase.

This piece of HEA has two goals: the first is to increase attainment of STEM degrees and the second is to create a model transfer and articulation agreement for STEM degrees between two- and four-year institutions. Appropriations for this program are mandatory through FY2019. Funding can be utilized for purposes such as:

A great example of how this has been implemented is the Laredo Community College in Texas, which developed its STEM Articulation and Summer Bridge program through the HSI STEM grant. The STEM articulation program supports learners interested in STEM in both the college enrollment process, as well as successfully navigating the two to four year transfer. This program includes a Summer Bridge component, which provides incoming college students with advisement on everything from what to expect academically to the interpersonal skills that will be required. Learners in this program graduated at twice the rate of the college’s overall graduation rate.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

By Meredith Hills in Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE

Friday, December 14th, 2018

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

Trump Administration Releases Strategy to Bolster STEM Education in the U.S.

On December 4, the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council released Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education. This report that outlines the Trump administration’s five-year strategy to increase access to high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and to ensure the United States is a global leader in STEM literacy, innovation and employment. Read more legislative updates on our blog here.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

What is Dual Enrollment?

Watch this video for a brief overview of what makes a high-quality dual enrollment program. You will learn how participation in these programs has grown over time and the present challenge to close access gaps.

Watch the video here. https://youtu.be/-3bXnkHeddg

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

What Happens to Students Who Take Community College “Dual Enrollment” Courses in High School?

In the fall of 2010, the 15 percent of learners enrolled in community college were high school dual enrollment learners. In a new report, the Community College Research Center-Teachers College, at Columbia University in New York, examines who enrolls in community college dual enrollment courses and what happens to them after high school. The research findings are based on longitudinal data of more than 200,000 high school learners who first took a community college course in fall 2010 for six years, through to the summer of 2016.

Findings:

Read the full report here: https://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/media/k2/attachments/what-happens-community-college-dual-enrollment-students.pdf

By Nicole Howard in Uncategorized
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Trump Administration Releases Strategy to Bolster STEM Education in the US

Monday, December 10th, 2018

On December 4, the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council released Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education, a report that outlines the Trump administration’s five-year strategy to increase access to high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and to ensure the United States is a global leader in STEM literacy, innovation and employment. The strategy is rooted in three goals: build strong foundations for STEM literacy; increase diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM; and prepare the STEM workforce for the future.

To achieve these goals, the strategy is broken into four pathways that respectively focus on:

The pathways described in the strategy share common items with STEM4: The Power of Collaboration for Change, a resource by Advance CTE, the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics, the Council of State Science Supervisors, and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association that outlines principles and corresponding recommendations to drive and implement outstanding STEM education research and practices.

Notably, both resources recognize the importance of increasing access to and equity in STEM preparedness and the importance of real-world scenarios to preparing learners for lifelong career success. Career Technical Education (CTE) can play a pivotal role in promoting strong STEM education programs and workforce by exposing learners of all ages to real-world experiences through work-based and experiential learning and by fostering a STEM talent pipeline. High-quality CTE programs of study are informed by labor market data and developed with industry input to ensure that learners are developing the skills, such as computational literacy, to meet employer needs.

As the United States continues to fall short in preparing learners for education and careers in STEM, state leaders should consider how CTE can serve as mechanism to meet the goals outlined in the Trump administration’s five-year strategy.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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Global Competencies, CTE & STEM

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

When students enter the job market, they will need to know the global dimensions of their career pathway and how to work with people from different backgrounds – including here in our increasingly diverse country. Recognizing the incredible opportunities and necessities of linking Career Technical Education (CTE) and global competencies is why Advance CTE partnered with Asia Society, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Longview Foundation to release Preparing a Globally Competent Workforce Through High-Quality Career and Technical Education back in 2015. 

Since the release of this report, this partnership has continued, leading to the development of the Global CTE Toolkit, which houses many curricular and instructional tools for embedding global competencies into CTE teaching and learning.

This work is now extending to focus squarely on STEM, with Advance CTE, the Global Education at Asia Society and ACTE partnering to create new online professional development modules that support CTE educators in integrating STEM content into their classrooms while teaching global skills via active, project-based learning. These 10 new modules – entitled Career Readiness in a Global Economy: STEM and CTE – will help educators understand how to make global connections to local issues; create high-quality global STEM projects; assess global workforce readiness skills; connect with classrooms abroad to complete collaborative projects; and teach students to be project managers so they are more successful in completing their projects.

These new modules, together with sample curriculum and other tools and resources are now being piloted and we are looking for state and local leaders and practitioners to join in and give your feedback. For each 15-minute module you give feedback on, you will be entered into a drawing for one of two $100 Amazon gift cards. All materials are free of charge due to generous support from the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF).

If you are interested in piloting these new materials, please visit CTE Learn, create a free log-in, and click on the Career Readiness in a Global Economy: STEM and CTE, button to get started. Also, feel free to share the link and information with others in your states and communities.

Contact Heather Singmaster at hsingmaster@asiasociety.org with any questions. All surveys must be completed by February 15, 2019 to be entered into the drawing.

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Advance CTE Announcements, News, Uncategorized
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Joint Paper Promoting Collaboration in STEM Education Released

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

All too often, policy conversations concerning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) happen separately from conversations related to Career Technical Education (CTE). Recently, Advance CTE partnered with the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics, Council of State Science Supervisors, and International Technology and Engineering Educators Association to release STEM4: The Power of Collaboration for Change to highlight the importance of collaborating and coordinating strategically in these areas.

The document notes that, despite an abundance of initiatives and efforts, our nation is not achieving its goals in preparing students for college majors or careers in STEM and offers three main principles to drive and implement outstanding STEM education research and practices:

Principle 1: STEM education should advance the learning of each individual STEM discipline.

Principle 2: STEM education should provide logical and authentic connections between and across the individual STEM disciplines.

Principle 3: STEM education should serve as a bridge to STEM careers.

Each principle is accompanied by a set of recommended actions that may be taken to shift toward access to and equity in STEM preparedness that is felt to be crucial.

The paper is the product of an organized and coordinated effort among the leadership of our respective organizations to address the challenges faced when implementing STEM education and providing access to the knowledge, skills, and career pathways necessary for all students, particularly those in underserved populations.

To read the document, click here.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Research
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Top Findings from Reviews of State ESSA Plans

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

How long does it take to read through and analyze 17 state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)? Two months seems to be the sweet spot for many of the nation’s education thought leaders. Since the first submission window closed this spring, a number of groups, Advance CTE among them, have released their takes on the first round of state plans.

Federal education policy inevitably draws opinions, advice and criticism from all corners of the country, and states’ planning around ESSA implementation has been no exception. Below we round up some of the latest takes and summarize conclusions from the first round of submitted plans.

ESSA: Early Observations on State Changes to Accountability Systems (Government Accountability Office)

Purpose: The GAO was requested by Congress to study and report on states’ progress and approaches toward amending accountability under ESSA. To conduct the report, GAO policy researchers interviewed national stakeholders and met with education officials in California and Ohio, two states that were identified as taking different approaches to accountability.

Key Findings: The report finds that states are taking advantage of increased flexibility under ESSA, though the degree of change ranges by state. The authors classify ESSA accountability development by four dimensions: 1) determining long-term goals, 2) developing performance indicators, 3) differentiating schools and 4) identifying and assisting low-performers.  

ESSA Equity Dashboards (Alliance for Excellent Education)

Purpose: To highlight strengths and draw attention to growth areas in ESSA plans, the Alliance for Excellent Education is developing ESSA Equity Dashboards that rate key components of state plans. Dashboards are available for five of the first 17 plans, with the remaining expected in August. The dashboards examine long-term goals, support and intervention, and accountability.

Key Findings: The Alliance for Excellent Education highlights Louisiana’s plan for its focus on academic outcomes and the design of the state’s “Strength of Diploma Indicator.” Reviewers flagged Colorado’s long-term goals for math and reading performance.

ESSA Leverage Points: 64 Promising Practices from States for using Evidence to Improve Student Outcomes (Results for America)

Purpose: This analysis from Results for America examines the first 17 submitted ESSA plans and evaluates the degree to which states aim to use evidence-based practices in certain parts of their plan. The analysis is based on 13 key ESSA leverage points identified by Results for America and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Leverage points include monitoring local education agency implementation, allocating school improvement funds, monitoring and evaluating school improvement, and more.

Key Findings: The reviewers found that:

An Independent Review of ESSA State Plans (Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success)

Purpose: To supplement the Department of Education’s peer review process, Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success convened a peer review team of their own, drawing together more than 30 local, state and national experts to review and rate state plans. Their analysis focused on nine key elements.

Key Findings: The results of the peer review are broken down by state at https://checkstateplans.org/. Overall, the reviewers found that:

Leveraging ESSA to Promote Science and STEM Education in States (Achieve)

Purpose: This analysis from Achieve examines 17 round 1 state ESSA plans through the lens of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, pinpointing how states are leveraging assessments, graduation requirements and other goals to promote science and STEM.

Key Findings: Achieve’s analysis finds that, among the 17 round 1 state plans:

Making the Most of ESSA: Opportunities to Advance STEM Education (Education First)

Purpose: Education First, with support from the Overdeck Family Foundation, examined 25 state plans (including 17 submitted plans and an additional eight draft plans) to identify leverage points for STEM education and review whether and how states are taking advantage of these opportunities. Their review focused on four key dimensions of state plans: inclusion of state science assessments in accountability systems; including of Career Technical Education (CTE) indicators in accountability systems; inclusion of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate indicators in accountability systems; and STEM elements in 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Key Findings: The reviewers found that:

Reflections on State ESSA Plans (American Institutes for Research)

Purpose: Researchers at the American Institutes for Research reviewed 17 submitted plans and three additional draft plans to get a broad perspective on how states are prioritizing certain strategies. Their analysis covered plans for accountability, STEM, school improvement, technology and more.

Key Findings: Notably, the researchers at AIR found that, among the 20 plans reviewed:

Overall, reviewers seem impressed with states’ efforts to include more comprehensive indicators of student success in their accountability system. However, states were light on details about how their plans will be implemented and how schools will be supported to improve student performance. The remaining two-thirds of states planning to submit plans in September can draw on these findings, along with Advance CTE’s report on career readiness and ESSA, to ensure their plans are robust and sufficiently leverage all that ESSA has to offer.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

By Austin Estes in Public Policy, Research, Resources
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States Pave Way for More Flexible, Integrated Pathways to Graduation

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE reinforces the principle that all learning should be personalized and flexible. Education should meet learners where they’re at, allowing them to pursue pathways and experiences aligned to their career interests. To that end, a number of states this summer have taken steps to expand flexible pathways to graduation by amending graduation requirements and exploring opportunities to enhance career advisement and integrate workforce skills throughout the K-12 curriculum.

In Connecticut, for example, Governor Dannel Malloy signed SB1026, amending graduation requirements set to take effect this year. Those requirements were adopted in 2010 in an effort to raise expectations, but were too prescriptive in terms of which courses learners would need to take to graduate. Specifically, the requirements increased the minimum number of credits needed to graduate from 20 to 25 and specified that students would need to earn eight credits in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), nine credits in humanities, three in career and life skills, and three and a half in other areas, including a senior demonstration project.

The new law makes some changes to the required number of credits but ultimately provides school districts and learners more flexibility on the path to graduation. For one, students will now be required to earn nine, not eight, credits in STEM, but local school boards have the liberty to choose which courses qualify. Additionally, the law gives students the option to receive credit by demonstrating subject matter competency through alternative means, such as work-based learning, Career Technical Education (CTE), virtual learning and more. And instead of the senior demonstration project, learners must complete a mastery-based diploma assessment.

Washington Takes Credit Equivalencies Statewide

Over on the west coast, Washington State’s budget for the 2017-19 biennium includes provisions to accelerate the state’s ongoing credit equivalency work. Under the enacted budget, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is directed to help expand and support the implementation of course equivalency credits statewide. This builds upon an ongoing state effort to streamline graduation pathways and allow students to earn math and science credit by demonstrating competency through technical coursework. Since 2015, the State Board of Education has established course equivalency frameworks for 32 courses, including the Core Plus curriculum, a model developed in partnership with the Boeing company to help students develop knowledge and skills in manufacturing.

Additionally, the budget provides for a competitive grant fund to help school districts implement the course equivalency frameworks, such as by developing rigorous assessments, raising awareness and providing professional development for educators.

Rethinking Education and Workforce Development in Idaho, Michigan and California

Meanwhile, efforts are underway in Idaho, Michigan and California to align K-12 education with workforce development priorities. In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter’s Workforce Development Task Force, launched by executive order in January, released its findings and recommendations from a five-month study into the state’s workforce development needs. Among the task force’s recommendations are strategies to connect K-12 education to career pathways, strengthen career advisement in the state, expand CTE programs and apprenticeships, and incentivize schools to integrate workforce skills into secondary curricula.

In Michigan, the Career Pathways Alliance —  a Governor-led, cross-sector effort — released a series of 16 recommendations to dramatically strengthen career preparation at the secondary level. Proposals range from continuing a statewide communications campaign to enhancing career counseling efforts and introducing more flexibility into the Michigan graduation standards, an effort currently making its way through the state legislature. While many of the Alliance’s recommendations require legislative approval, State Superintendent Brian Whiston issued a directive immediately after the recommendations were released to begin implementing some of the strategies.  

Meanwhile, California is taking steps to develop and integrate computer science standards into K-12 curricula. The state’s budget directs the superintendent to convene a Computer Science Strategic Implementation Advisory Panel to provide recommendations for implementing K-12 computer science standards. Specifically, the panel’s recommendations, which are due to the superintendent by July 2019, will address professional development for teachers, define principles for meeting the needs of K-12 students, and identify strategies to expand access to computer science education.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Public Policy
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Analysis Suggests Metrics for Measuring Impact of Community Colleges

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

March 9, 2017

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released a report in partnership with the Association of Community College Trustees examining which metrics best tell the story of the services community colleges provide and the supports they require. They determined that the three important indicators of community college progress are:

The report makes a distinction between measuring college retention and college persistence, as retention only measures how many students return for the following Fall semester at the same institution. Using persistence as a measure for community colleges captures the large number of students who transfer either to other community colleges or to four-year institutions. This requires a more systematic approach to tracking enrollment across different institutions and across state lines. When enrollment was tracked this way using Student Clearinghouse data, they found that almost half of all bachelor’s degree recipients were enrolled in a community college at one point before transferring to a four-year institution, a fact that demonstrates the clear role community colleges play in student success.

Study Finds Girls Turn Away from STEM Subjects Early

A new report published in Science found that girls tend to turn away from STEM subjects as early as first grade. The report attributes this partly to their findings that girls begin to associate boys as being smarter and therefore tend to shy away from subjects intended for more intelligent people. Boys around that age seem to also believe themselves to be inherently smarter. The findings in this study echo previous studies that correlated boys’ and girls’ performance in math and science with their self-reported levels of confidence and anxiety with the subjects.

The authors of the report suggest that schools must begin working to break down gender stereotypes far earlier than many might expect. They also recommend that families work to foster girls’ interest in STEM subjects as early as possible.

Odds and Ends

As you know, last month was CTE Month. To celebrate, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) launched a newly redesigned CTE statistics website, which provides national-level information on CTE at the secondary and postsecondary education levels, as well as information on occupational certification and licensure.

Several pieces related to equity have been released lately. CCSSO and the Aspen Institute released a report on the role SEA chiefs can and should play in defining and promoting equity in schools. Chiefs For Change also released a report on equity, with a focus on using ESSA and financial transparency to improve equity.

The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education recently released a technical assistance document to support communities working with in-school youth in accordance with WIOA. Additionally, the National Conference of State Legislatures launched a database that tracks state legislation related to WIOA implementation.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Research
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