Magazine article Techniques

What's the Big Deal about the K&S?

Magazine article Techniques

What's the Big Deal about the K&S?

Article excerpt

Career clusters, career pathways, career majors, programs of study, plans of study--the list of terms being used these days to help describe the process for helping learners/students reach success in careers and postsecondary education seems endless. Lost in the dialogue of most conversations, however, is the discussion about the content of the courses, both academic and technical, that a learner needs to know in order to be successful in the workplace and/or in further studies. This content, found at www.careerclusters.org and labeled as the "Knowledge and Skills Statements," is often overlooked but is likely the most important aspect of career planning.

What are knowledge and skills statements (herein referred to as K and S)? The official definition of the K and S is that they are broad statements specifying the knowledge and/or skills required of learners/workers in order to demonstrate competence in a given career cluster or career pathway. In other words, these statements look at what a learner needs to know and what they should be able to do to be successful in a particular area as identified by national advisory committees, which consist of business and industry representatives. At the cluster level, the statements are broad statements that are very basic, allowing for learners to have mobility from one cluster to another as they work through their high school and postsecondary coursework. Generally speaking, the knowledge and skills move from the broad to the specific; the further a learner goes within a pathway, the more specialized the content gets.

At the pathway level, the K and S statements become more specialized. One might think of these statements, at both the cluster and pathway levels, as standards. At these levels, they are used in addition to the specific industry standards often referred to for various industry certifications and/or licensures.

One observation that has been made is that people are often far more concerned about the names of courses rather than the content. By contrast, use of the K and S statements means that it doesn't really matter what a course is called--it's what is contained within the course that matters. Remember that this rule applies to both the academic and technical courses included on a learner's plan of study.

So what should be done with the K and S statements? They should be used to determine the course content. A favorite term used to describe the method of working with K and S statements is to "clump" them into courses. For example, if you look at the K and S in the counseling and mental health pathway in the human services cluster, there are many statements. Three of those have been "clumped" together to form a course shown on the sample plan of study titled Theories of Counseling and Mental Health. Those statements form the description of the course. In other words, the following three statements make up the content of the course:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

* Evaluate client motivation, strengths and weaknesses to develop a client treatment program.

* Incorporate new knowledge to expand personal skills base.

* Evaluate client for crisis intervention to apply intervention when needed.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

There is nothing magical about calling this particular course Theories of Counseling and Mental Health, as the name could have been Principles of Counseling and Mental Health, or Fundamentals of Counseling and Mental Health, and on and on. The message here is that it is not important what a course is called--it is the content that counts! …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.