CTE programs, their teachers, and administrators are crucial to equipping students with the technical skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen industry. The quality and currency of instruction along, with engaging instructional strategies, directly impact student retention and their preparedness to enter the workforce or continue their education beyond high school.
The growing popularity of CTE combined with the lack of CTE administrator training offered in universities has created a shortage of qualified CTE administrators. While some positions are being filled with individuals transitioning from other education roles, they do not necessarily have relevant CTE experience. New CTE administrators must have the support and resources to ensure programs meet educational goals and equip students for their next step in life.
Using Data for Program Improvement
Data is a powerful tool, but figuring out which data is useful and how best to analyze it to make program improvements can be a challenge for any educational professional. CTE educators receive a significant amount of student performance data. Administrators should understand how that data can guide instructional improvement and how teachers can use it to individualize instruction.
Observing trends in individual score reports can be helpful in understanding if students are genuinely (and retaining) what they are supposed to be learning. Consistently low scores across multiple student groups might indicate a need to consider different instructional methods to teach the subject.
In addition to individual reports, NOCTI’s standard reporting package includes several other reports educators can use to analyze student performance.
- Group Score Reports can assist when analyzing a group’s performance and identifying potential areas for improvement. For example, if the entire group tested poorly in one specific competency, that would be a clue to evaluate the curriculum or teaching methods for that competency.
- Analysis of Score Report is provided for the entire testing group. It contains data on how scores compare to group, state, and national averages and the criterion-referenced cut score.
- Competency Reports provide competency-level data, allowing educators to dive deeper into the data to discover patterns and isolate issues. These reports include the ability to export data using various filters and results in a data extract that is customized to meet a school or program’s needs. Use this data to promote continuous program and instructional improvement, track progress toward program goals, and meet state or federal requirements.
High-quality data from an objective, third-party reveals more in-depth information than a simple pass or fail score. Using longitudinal data (data collected over multiple years a credential is utilized) helps administrators identify patterns and understand the “why” behind a student or group’s score. The more granular the data, the more precise the analysis, and the more likely it will reveal valuable insights.
Each occupational area should have an occupational or trade advisory committee made up of local business and industry professionals. These subject matter experts are an invaluable resource and can offer advice on everything from equipment purchases to evaluation mechanisms.
CTE leaders can strengthen the connection between programs and local employers by visiting companies. Outreach can be tailored to an employer’s needs by discussing required employee skills and competencies and explaining how CTE programs help prepare students for success in their specific industry. Administrators should strive to maximize the advantage of fully engaged employers by developing cooperative work placements, organizing student tours of facilities, or bringing company experts into the classroom to help make instruction more engaging.
- Local employers may also be willing to:
- Serve on advisory committees
- Facilitate professional development
- Judge student projects and competitors
- Participate in curriculum review
- Advocate for CTE at state and national levels
Teachers are one of a CTE program’s most valuable assets. One of the roles of a CTE administrator is to help teachers stay current in their area of expertise and help improve instruction in the classroom. Supporting teachers in their professional development and setting goals to monitor progress can demonstrate that a CTE administrator is invested in their continued success.
CTE is unique in that one-size professional development will not fit all. Technical skills in a computer science program will be different from healthcare science or culinary arts. It is essential to tailor professional development to each instructor based on the technical skills taught in the program. This customization ensures teachers are well equipped to prepare their students and help them on their way to success and job placement.
More CTE Administrator Resources
CTE is currently receiving more attention as it is expected to play a role in recovery from the pandemic (teachlearning.com). New skills and funding introduced over the past few years are helping drive the expansion of technical education programs as employers struggle to find qualified workers.
With this expansion in CTE programs comes the increased need for CTE administrators and program leaders. NOCTI and its partners collaborated to develop resources tailored to help administrators succeed.
The CTE Administrative Leadership book series from NOCTI and ACTE includes key information on fundamental skills needed for a CTE administrator to be successful, including building faculty trust and cooperation, engaging employers, aligning the curriculum, developing board relationships, and understanding funding basics.
Putting Your Data to Work: Improving Instruction in CTE is a publication exploring the data-driven improvement in instruction. It specifically targets the value of gradient objective credential data and the importance of disaggregation highlighted in Perkins V.
NOCTI also offers several on-demand webinars tailored to CTE administrators, including “Managing a NOCTI Credential Program” and “Quality and the CTE Administrator.” View the complete list on the NOCTI website site and keep an eye on the upcoming webinar schedule for new topics.
Other CTE resources for administrators include:
- Advance CTE’s blog offers advice, legislative updates, and in-depth reports.
- Technical Education Post delivers News and Information, Projects, Products, and Sources about Project-based learning that includes science and math in every subject. Part of their mission is to provide educators with the information about programs, products, and services that can help them develop the future workforce
- ACTE’s publication Techniques tells the story of CTE. In print and online, readers can discover innovative classroom management strategies and better understand inclusion, access, equity, and diversity.
- ACTE’s Core Community is a way for individuals to strengthen their skills and collaborate with peers. The Community includes six interactive learning modules and access to dozens of CTE-specific discussion groups, forums, and online resources to help individuals reach their goals.
NOCTI is proud to support CTE administrators. Let us know if you have any questions about our services or if there are specific resources we can help you find.