High-Quality CTE

High-quality career and technical education has become a national catchphrase in use by policymakers, practitioners and a wide variety of  influential education and workforce development stakeholders. But what is high-quality CTE? How should this term be defined, and can it be used to evaluate programs, determine areas for targeted improvements and recognize successful elements that should be scaled ? To help synthesize the myriad voices that are a part of the dialogue on high-quality CTE, ACTE is embarking on a multi-step project to identify a comprehensive, research-based quality CTE program of study framework, test the framework and integrate it into our efforts to recognize and disseminate information on best practices within CTE.

In addition to developing a quality framework, as described below, ACTE has integrated a focus on quality into the ACTE awards program, the High-quality CTE Tools online library and CareerTech VISION.

The first phase of the project focused on defining high-quality CTE:

  • Defining High-quality CTE: Contemporary Perspectives on CTE Quality (July 2015): This paper examines a broad range of documents from a variety of sources, ranging from white papers and national organization positions to organizational standards and rubrics. Findings from the research indicate that these guiding frameworks mirror ongoing trends in successful CTE programs, while still containing a broad diversity of tactics for implementing high-quality CTE programs of study. This diversity of scope and structure among  frameworks sets the stage for conversations to establish clarity and consistency related to high-quality CTE, particularly as it relates to individual local programs.
  • ACTE High-quality CTE Framework Draft Version 1.0 (November 2015): Following the release of the above paper, ACTE began development of a high-quality program of study framework based on a deeper analysis of the national frameworks addressed in our paper as well as supplemental national and state quality documents. The draft ACTE quality framework elements and criteria are designed to apply to single, local CTE programs of study spanning secondary and postsecondary education, although they may be adapted to other units of analysis.
  • ACTE High-quality CTE Framework Draft Version 3.0 (November 2016): This new draft of the Framework incorporates feedback received over the prior year, including from focus groups, expert review, surveys, and additional research on key issues.
  • ACTE High-quality CTE Framework Beta Version 4.0 (March 2017): Final feedback is incorporated and language in the Framework has been standardized across elements. This version of the Framework will be used in pilot testing.

The Framework Draft 4.0 will now be pilot tested to assess its validity and utility. To provide input on the draft framework, or if you are interested in participating in the pilot testing, please contact ACTE Public Policy Director Alisha Hyslop at ahyslop@acteonline.org.