Report to the Congress of the United States: Program Year 3

Publication August 2010

The third year of operation of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (August 1, 2009 to July 31, 2010) demonstrated the benefits of a consortium that combines research capacity with associations that represent broad constituencies of CTE educators. The involvement of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc; now known as AdvanceCTE) provides unparalleled access to practitioners and ensures that their perspectives are included in all our efforts. Our other partners include NOCTI (formerly the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute), a leading developer of occupational assessments; the National Institute for Work and Learning at the Academy for Educational Development (AED), which focuses on the linkage between education and employment systems; and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), which administers High Schools that Work, an education reform initiative that is being implemented in over 1,200 high schools in 31 states.

These organizations, working in cooperation with four research universities (the University of Louisville, the University of Minnesota, Clemson University, and Cornell University), are conducting a program of work that addresses issues of high concern to policymakers as well as to those who have the day-to-day responsibility for the delivery of CTE to young people and adults.

Our program of work includes research, dissemination, professional development, and technical assistance. A main focus of our research has been on programs of study (POS) as defined and mandated by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-270; otherwise known as Perkins IV). In Year 3, we conducted projects that examined POS from four perspectives. We also conducted research on the following topics:

  • Methods to enhance the literacy skills of CTE students
  • Enhancement of science instruction in agricultural education
  • Interventions to promote student success in community colleges
  • Online occupational programs offered by community colleges
  • Performance on NOCTI tests and postsecondary outcomes

All four of the research universities are involved in one or more of these projects.

With the NRCCTE, ACTE shares responsibility for disseminating the results of our research and uses a variety of media to do so.

Our professional development projects are being conducted by NOCTI and SREB. The NOCTI project focuses on how CTE administrators and teachers use the results from technical assessments to guide program improvement. SREB is developing a system for assisting individuals who enter teaching without formal preparation to learn the skills necessary to plan, deliver, and assess instruction.

Our technical assistance activities are being carried out by our own staff as well as AED in cooperation with the NASDCTEc. These activities include working with states and large school districts to implement a scientifically verified model for enhancing mathematics instruction in CTE courses and assisting selected states to develop POS that focus on green occupations.

Many of the research projects are multiyear, and in the sections that follow, we summarize their current status and findings through the end of Year 3. Brief descriptions are also presented of ongoing activities and projects in our other areas of emphasis: dissemination, professional development, and technical assistance.

National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (2010). Report to the Congress of the United States: Program Year 3, August 1, 2009 to July 31, 2010. Louisville, KY: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Louisville.

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