Career Technical Education (CTE)

National Initiative On Career and Technical Assessment

The Council of Chief State School Officers has long sponsored a program of State Collaboratives on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS) such as the Career Technical Assessment Collaborative (CTAC) founded in 2009. The Career Technical Assessment authored a white paper, The Future of Career Technical Education (CTE) Assessment (2011), which emphasizes research and strategies associated with these recommendations for career and technical assessment by colleges and universities.

What is Career and Technical Education?

Create a national clearinghouse of current industry-based assessments and related credentials/certifications. There will continue to be a need for assessments other than those generated from the shared item bank, such as assessments for industry certification, state licensure, occupation-specific skills, and performance assessments for skill areas unsuitable for multiple-choice testing. A national clearinghouse of these assessments will serve CTE and education leaders seeking to identify all additional tools to form a complete assessment approach.

Develop a national common core of technical standards that builds on the National Career Cluster Knowledge and Skills statements. A national approach to CTE assessment requires common standards, and they must define more than general workplace readiness skills. The Career Cluster Knowledge and Skills define the rigorous, transferrable skills needed across all occupations in each of the 16 industry career clusters and 79 subsequent career pathways. There is also a role for occupation-specific standards common to many CTE programs, but we believe these are best left to states and industry groups to steward.

Create a national comprehensive college and career ready assessment system that measures both academic and technical knowledge and skills. All components of a CTE assessment approach, regardless of the format, should include multiple measures for student achievement and program performance. Components of the CTE approach should, where possible, integrate with states’ broader assessment systems to measure academic achievement and manage student data. Rigorous programs of study aligned to the National Career Clusters framework should be the method of delivery for all CTE curriculum and assessment.

Build high-quality technical assessments that examine proficiencies as defined by the academic and technical common cores and that may lead to industry-recognized, nationally portable credentials. We believe that a shared item bank could facilitate the development and delivery of large-scale state assessments that address many areas of the national common core. Performance and portfolio assessment may be required for some skill areas, but a collaboratively developed and managed shared item bank provided with protocols for valid and reliable test form development and delivery provides the best opportunity to pursue nationally portable credentials as advanced placement, transcripted credit, and industry-recognized certification.

Samples of PLA Crosswalks for Career and Technical Education