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Key Issues

Data Quality Initiatives


With a growing national focus on data and accountability to help students succeed in education and careers, collecting high-quality data and sharing it across different agencies is more important than ever. For CTE, data quality and access issues include appropriately measuring student achievement, including the attainment of high-quality credentials; ensuring the quality of Perkins-funded CTE programs; and providing data to consumers on the connection between education and labor market outcomes.

ACTE has prepared a glossary of key data quality and sharing initiatives to help you keep track. Below you can learn more about several of these initiatives and why they are important for CTE. You can also access data on employment projections and how CTE prepares the qualified workforce.

  • Certification Data Exchange Project: ACTE, in cooperation with a number of national and state partners (including CompTIA, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Department of Education), is supporting a project to expand and improve data exchange between industry certification organizations and state longitudinal data systems so that schools can determine how many of their students earn industry certifications or licenses. The project is based on a multi-year roadmap for the development of a national data exchange clearinghouse that will allow states and educational institutions to gain access to this data. It will help determine how data on industry certifications can be shared with education and workforce systems in order to illustrate alignment between education and workforce outcomes, which is a key aspect of CTE. 
  • School Codes for the Exchange of Data: In fall 2012, ACTE led a project, in coordination with the Department of Education and the National Association of State Directors of CTE Consortium, with Sharon Enright from the Ohio Department of Education providing oversight, to revise course titles, descriptions and classifications within the National Center for Education Statistics Secondary School Course Code Classification System: School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED). ACTE created 16 working groups with almost 150 volunteers from our membership for the review process. These recommendations were submitted to NCES in January 2013 and have been reviewed and synthesized with input from other subject matter experts. The revised SCED should be released in 2014. This work is important because it ensures that SCED CTE courses and descriptions reflect what is currently being taught, enabling comparison of course offerings among districts and states, supporting longitudinal student information systems and encouraging the use of course-taking information in research and evaluation of student outcomes. We hope this is just the beginning of a collaborative process of periodic revisions of CTE courses in the SCED.
  • State Perkins Accountability Congress: The State Perkins Accountability Congress brought together stakeholders from secondary and postsecondary CTE from each state, as well as organizations such as ACTE, to discuss and come to consensus on common performance measure definitions to be recommended for the reauthorization of Perkins. A final report released in February 2013 describes detailed suggestions for future Perkins performance indicators and related student populations and measurement approaches. If these recommendations are taken during reauthorization, they would impact the accountability requirements for your CTE program.
  • Workforce Data Quality Campaign: ACTE is one of eight national partners in this campaign, which is calling for policymakers in Washington, DC and in the state capitals to take a more inclusive approach to education data quality efforts, including the diversity of students and workers and the range of education and labor market outcomes that comprise our nation’s human capital strategy. Priorities include counting industryrecognized credentials as well as degrees, assessing employment outcomes and expanding the use of labor market information. The campaign’s work supports a more inclusive data system that draws connections between education and labor market outcomes, which is an important element of CTE programs.

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ACTE is committed to enhancing the job performance and satisfaction of its members; to increasing public awareness and appreciation for career and technical programs; and to assuring growth in local, state and federal funding for these programs by communicating and working with legislators and government leaders.

Who We Are

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.


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