Measuring Tech Prep Excellence: A Practitioner’s Guide to Excellence

Publication January 2001

Tech Prep education programs play a vital role in the education of American youth. During the past decade, with funding from Perkins legislation, Tech Prep consortia have consolidated and developed programs for students. The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 requires each state to identify performance levels relevant to career and technical education. Seven essential program elements and four core indicators provide the foundation to evaluate Tech Prep education programs. The purpose of this guide is to assist those responsible for Tech Prep evaluation to report program and student outcomes data, and to integrate evaluation results with future Tech Prep education program planning efforts.

This guide has been developed to assist state and local consortia with their evaluation of Tech Prep education programs and with their reporting of Tech Prep program and student outcomes data to meet the accountability requirements of the Perkins Act of 1998. The guide also promotes current planning and future development of Tech Prep education programs. Practical evaluation examples have been provided to aid state and local evaluators responsible for the planning, data collection, and analysis of Tech Prep education programs. This guide is designed for Tech Prep stakeholders in secondary schools and two-year colleges. Stakeholders include teachers, administrators, counselors, state and local Tech Prep coordinators, and other interested parties.

Due to the variability of state and local Tech Prep evaluation requirements, consortia have considerable flexibility in designing an evaluation system to meet their individual needs. Therefore, no single evaluation method is prescribed; state and local consortia may select from a variety of suggestions and evaluation methods. Any of the methods presented in this guide can be modified to meet the needs of state or local consortia.

The guide is divided into five sections. Section I provides an overview about evaluating Tech Prep education programs; a description of the compliance requirements set by federal legislation; definitions of a Tech Prep student, concentrator, and completer; models for Tech Prep evaluation; and a discussion of the use of internal and external evaluators. Section II reports on the Tech Prep seven essential program elements and provides state and local Tech Prep evaluation examples. Section III describes Tech Prep performance measures for reporting the Perkins four core indicators, and it provides performance measure examples. Section IV provides information to assist with collecting, analyzing, and presenting Tech Prep program and student outcomes data. Section V links the Tech Prep evaluation process to program improvement. The guide also includes a glossary, references, and appendices. Numerous survey templates and evaluation examples are described in Section II and are reproduced in the appendices. In addition, Web sites and contact information for additional resources and technical assistance are provided.

The guide has been developed following several on-site interviews with state and local Tech Prep coordinators and telephone interviews with local Tech Prep coordinators. Tech Prep Web sites were reviewed to obtain examples of Tech Prep surveys and definitions of Tech Prep student, concentrator, and completer.

Ruhland, S., & Timms, D. M. (2001). Measuring tech prep excellence: A practitioner’s guide to evaluation. St. Paul, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Minnesota.

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