MANY OF THOSE WORKING IN THE FIELD OF CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) have continuously grappled with the need for a uniformly global set of in formation--a national-level database or, at minimum, a common, standardized set of definitions and measures to meet CTE's multiple needs, including accountability and evaluation, career guidance and program improvement. This article primarily focuses on data and CTE accountability and why these matter in the current policy context. It also describes the work currently being undertaken by the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) and others toward establishing common data standards and a new direction for CTE accountability and evaluation that anticipates changes in federal policy.
A group consisting of researchers, data experts and policymakers met in January of" 2010 at the University of Louisville to continue work on the NRC CTE's Perkins Crosswalk Validation Project--an evolving multi-state, multi-institutional collaborative effort seeking (1) greater consistency and clarity in Perkins secondary and postsecondary data collection and reporting, (2) a common data crosswalk that links occupations to educational programs, career clusters, and career pathways, and (3) a foundation for more standardized accountability requirements in later iterations of the Perkins legislation. Participants also discussed the pressing need to use CTE data and accountability systems to shape current and future education and workforce development policy, as I will describe here.
Why Don't We Have a National CTE Database?
At present, the United Stales has no national, comprehensive database that meets the accountability requirements prescribed in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (otherwise known as Perkins IV). Individual …