State Secondary CTE Standards: Developing a Framework out of a Patchwork of Policies

Publication October 2007

Many state educational administrators are currently working to define secondary career and technical education (CTE) content standards that specify the knowledge and skills students are expected to master in CTE program areas. The two-phase project on which this report is based explored (a) the progress and status of states in developing statewide secondary CTE standards systems, and (b) whether and how teachers are using those standards in their CTE courses. In 2006, an exhaustive query of CTE standards systems across the 50 states and the District of Columbia was conducted using publicly available information, validated through targeted follow-up interviews with state officials. The results include a snapshot description of each state’s secondary CTE standards system as of fall 2006 and the relationship between that system and other standards systems in that state (e.g., secondary academic standards, postsecondary technical standards). For the second phase of the project, the research team selected states with well-developed statewide standards systems and interviewed state-selected CTE teachers about whether having CTE standards has changed how they teach. The results of the second phase show that these teachers welcomed CTE standards. We describe some of the ways that teachers are using these standards in their practice.

Castellano, M., Harrison, L., & Schneider, S. (2007, October). State secondary CTE standards: Developing a framework out of a patchwork of policies. St. Paul, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Minnesota.

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