This quarter’s message comes at a time when summer vacations have wound down and school is about to start. I’m reminded of my own elementary school days when we would have to write an essay or present a mini-speech on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” Some of you may know that I have an interest in SCUBA, and in fact was an instructor back in the pre-family days. This year, like others, my family spent some time under the warm waters of the Caribbean. What was different this year was the encroachment of an “introduced species” – the Lion Fish (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/science/23lionfish.htm). The details on this encroachment are a bit sketchy, but suffice it to say that someone, somehow, introduced a species that has no known predators and is wiping out other fish populations. My family and I saw a reinforcement of some basic biology/ecology first-hand.
On another level, this summer’s experience was analogous to career and technical education’s (CTE) position in this administration. The parallel here is that if you don’t understand the power of something, you need to be careful what you propose to do with it. Just as someone didn’t realize the effect that the introduction of Lion Fish would have on all other life in the ocean, the elimination of CTE funding would have disastrous ripple effects on our economy, our infrastructure, and the quality of life many of us enjoy. I’m happy to report that even though those in charge of the budget may not realize long-term consequences of actions and/or inactions, CTE itself is alive and well in the states NOCTI visited this year!
In each and every state visited there was evidence of the grit and determination of CTE educators to do their best for students at all costs. We also saw an increase in the sophistication of educators in dealing with technical assessment data. Longer term users of NOCTI technical assessment data have started to utilize the data for instructional improvement more frequently. They have also started to use it as an objective means to incorporate statewide articulation into policy. Though we saw early signs of this type of data usage, it wasn’t enough. This is one of the driving forces behind NOCTI’s collaboration with the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) in the Career and Technical Educators using a Data Driven Improvement Model (CTEDDI) project. CTEDDI shows teachers and administrators how to use data for instructional improvement.
NOCTI and NRCCTE just conducted their first national CTEDDI training at the University of Louisville. One of the participants had this to say: “After participating in a CTEDDI Jump Start introduction at the National Career Clusters conference in Atlanta in June, I came away from [it] with a highly favorable first impression of the model. As the lead person responsible for technical standards and assessment in my state’s department of education CTE team, I saw the potential for instructors to use CTEDDI in conjunction with pre-tests to adjust and improve instruction. As an educator who has had a background in teacher training and curriculum development, I particularly appreciated the in-depth, yet simple, teacher-friendly approach the model exemplifies.”
Over the next two years, NOCTI/NRCCTE will be working with at least seven states to continue the implementation of the only data driven improvement model that focuses on CTE. To learn more about this project, to explore having a professional development session conducted at your site, or to arrange to participate in the project, please contact Missy Heck at NRCCTE (firstname.lastname@example.org) or NOCTI (email@example.com). A CTEDDI Jump-start Workshop will be held at ACTE in St. Louis on November 16, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and includes breakfast, lunch and breaks. For more information about the CTEDDI Jump-start Workshop, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the ACTE website http://www.acteonline.org/convention.aspx.
Many of you are familiar with our subsidiary company, The Whitener Group. The Whitener Group works with private sector corporate partners to design hiring and advancement tests, and certification services. I’m proud to announce a name change for this organization. Starting this fall, the new name will be NOCTI Business Solutions (NBS)! NBS will continue to provide current, real-world technical standards and content to the same assessment item bank that NOCTI uses for its CTE assessments. If your school or college is interested in becoming a business and industry testing center for NBS, please contact Anne at email@example.com.
Another exciting development at NOCTI is our new web site that will be launched this fall! Improved navigation will make it quicker and easier find what you need. An updated “Teacher’s Corner,” a new Parents & Students section, and Online Chat are among the many new features. Read the message by Board Chair, Dr. Jo Kister, in this newsletter to learn more about the new NOCTI web site.
NOCTI has always had multiple efficiency and analysis and tools available through our Client Services Center (CSC). We haven’t always aggressively advertised these tools, so I wanted to draw your attention to a few of them. The Data Upload Tool enables sites to upload test taker information, such as name, participant ID, program name, and test code to the CSC so that the uploaded data can be used to quickly and easily assign user codes for online assessment administration. Task-link Reports provide detailed information on individual test taker performance for the various tasks within a major content area. Instructors can easily identify strengths and areas for improvement by task for each student and for the group of test takers. Archived downloadable score reports are available back to January 1, 2006, allowing Site Coordinators to access and manipulate their school’s assessment data from previous years.
I ‘m also excited to say that we’re working on a project involving three states (east coast, central, and west coast) that involves making it easier to access industry assessments and for students to become competent in seven different industry certifications. If you are an industry certification association used by the CTE community and we haven’t talked to you about this initiative please contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org. Conversely, if you are an administrator or teacher and have a suggestion for an industry certification that your state uses widely, please pass the contact information along and we’ll try to get them involved.
Thanks to the success of our CTEDDI research project with the NRCCTE, we were encouraged to apply for an Institute of Educational Services (IES) grant. The grant proposal involves designing a model for data driven instructional improvement that focuses on community college career and technical education faculty. If your state or school would be interested in participating in this research, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Be sure to take a look at this month’s Techniques Magazine from our partners at ACTE. You’ll find a great article about a collaboration with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and Hershey Entertainment (and NOCTI) that brings students together with great chefs. The program gives students a “taste of their future” and helps them become more aware of opportunities and careers within the hospitality industry.
On behalf of the NOCTI staff, our Board and our Consortium of States, I sincerely hope you had the opportunity to refresh and recharge over the summer months and that you are ready to tackle the upcoming school year with renewed vigor and focus!
NOCTI and The Whitener Group
Measuring What Matters
As always, thank you for trusting NOCTI to deliver the quality assessments, comprehensive test data, and professional development needed to help improve your programs! We look forward to continued service to the CTE community and are anxious to show you how we can meet your needs!