About ten years ago, the NOCTI Board of Trustees began a discussion about a disturbing trend in career and technical education (CTE) – the difficulty in finding and retaining quality teachers. Part of the issue in many states was finding ways to create a pipeline of interested individuals – those professional tradespeople who had an interest in sharing their technical knowledge with the next generation. At the time, a few states had a good pathway established; however, even though a pipeline existed and was supported by a substantial infrastructure for initially training these teachers, there remained ongoing issues of retaining the newly minted teachers and providing up-to-date information on a variety of classroom pedagogies.
Recognizing these issues, NOCTI and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) collaborated to produce a series of three books as resources for new CTE teachers. NOCTI utilized seasoned CTE professionals from around the country to assist in developing content for the publications. The series is still among the top-selling titles at ACTE’s bookstore.
With increased interest in CTE from students, schools, universities, policymakers, and associations, there seems to be a renewed focus on the CTE teacher pipeline. This pipeline typically includes recruiting, preparing, and retaining quality CTE teachers. NOCTI’s original mission was based on evaluating CTE teacher technical competence, which has been consistent for well over 50 years. With our expertise in establishing standards and credentials to measure those standards, we wanted to provide additional assistance to the CTE community we have been serving for over five decades.
A determination was made to focus on CTE pedagogy, using content from our teacher book series, ACTE’s Quality Frameworks, Advance CTE’s policy discussions, the National Board’s Professional Teaching Standards, and several university programs. The result was two separate credentials entitled “Principles of CTE Teaching Level 1” and “Principles of CTE Teaching Level 2.”
Using a similar pattern, NOCTI developed new credentials for CTE administrators, CTE data professionals, and work-based learning professionals. Take a look at the following examples of how these standards and credentials can be used to enhance the CTE teacher pipeline.
At a secondary or community college level, using Principles of CTE Teaching as a pretest for all potential new CTE teacher hires in a particular system can provide a baseline score indicating where each candidate’s ability to deliver instruction currently resides. That score can be used as part of the hiring process, allowing those in control to get a sense of existing pedagogical expertise of one candidate versus another. Although this would not be the only criteria used in the hiring process, it is certainly a new tool that should enhance the chances of securing the highest quality candidate.
These same pretest scores could also be used to identify areas in which a teacher may need additional training. The lower scoring standards within the credential could be used as a roadmap to develop customized professional development targets that would make the new teacher even better at his or her craft. Additional administrations of the credentialing assessment could indicate how an individual teacher is making progress along their professional development journey.
Another use of the credential to enhance teacher quality could be the adoption of the credential as part of the state’s teacher licensing system. Currently, about half of the states in the United States use NOCTI technical competency credentials to evaluate an individual’s technical competence. Imagine the impact of adding an assessment that includes a teacher’s ability to deliver that content to learners as well.
Regardless of which Education Professional credential, or which level your school or your state chooses to employ, NOCTI believes that these credentials and the standards they are based on will enhance quality throughout the CTE profession. We hope that you’ll take some time to review the blueprints and determine how you can best use them in your organization. As the 2022-23 school year ends, we hope you will take time to reflect, diagnose, and design a plan for 2023-24 that continues to move your learners, your teachers, your institution, and CTE forward. Have a great summer!