ACTE Techniques January 2012 : Page 23

Course sequences: Course sequenc-ing was a functional component of POS at all three sites, but took different forms. At one, students planned their high school curriculum by taking a sequence of courses that prepared them for a particu-lar career. POS course sequences often spelled out the names, numbers and types of courses required for particular career objectives. At another, many courses were co-taught on the community college cam-pus. Courses with dual credit status had been aligned in a logical, non-duplicative sequence from secondary to postsec-ondary. At the third site, all systems collaborated to align courses to ensure continuous movement through a sequence of skills that led to the next level of educa-tion and career competence. “Our numerous interviews with those engaged in highly implemented POS revealed that collaboration and effective communication played pivotal roles.” Credit transfer agreements: Credit transfer agreements existed at all three sites. The most common form was a list of courses that qualified for dual credit at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. Collaborations between schools and local community colleges provided specific courses with credit transfer or dual credit options. Guidance counseling and aca-demic advisement: Guidance coun-seling and academic advisement played an important role in all three sites. First, early exposure to CTE and career options was identified as necessary in helping students to begin thinking about careers. Second, academic and career planning were identified as important to students’ long-term success. Third, CTE teachers not only provided valuable information to students and school personnel about the skills and training needed, but they also provided “real life” insights about the inner workings of their field. Com -munity college personnel also provided career guidance and program informa-tion to high school students as a means of encouraging them to take dual credit courses and recruiting them to enroll at the college. Teaching and learning strategies: Each site mentioned exemplary programs like Project Lead the Way and High Schools That Work as models for their most important teaching strategy, project-based learning. Teachers and administra-tors believed that involving students in projects, especially those that connected to real-world activities, helped motivate students to learn and provided a platform to ensure that learning was achieved and applied. Technical skill assessments (TSAs): All sites provided examples of TSAs used to measure student achieve-ment. The most prevalent were those created by NOCTI (the National Oc-cupational Competency Testing Institute). We also saw the use of occupationally specific skills or knowledge. Each of the sites also used TSAs carried out by career and technical student organizations like Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). alignment of educational initiatives with the needs and standards of business and industry. Further, collaboration between academic and CTE instructors provided the relevance students needed to make learning both interesting and useful. Developing relationships with businesses and industries provided both the support and expertise needed to develop relevant programs and work-based learning op-portunities for students. Time will tell if POS continue to transform and expand opportunities for students to gain the academic and technical knowledge and skills needed to become college-and career-ready. Acknowledgments The work reported herein was supported under the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (PR/Award No. VO51A070003) as administered by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education or the U.S. Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government. Natalie Stipanovic, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at the University of Louisville. She can be contacted at Rob Shumer, Ph.D., is a research associate in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. He can be contacted at Sam Stringfield, Ph.D., is a professor in the Departments of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education at the University of Louisville. He can be contacted at Interested in exploring this topic further? Discuss it with your colleagues on the ACTE forums at www. . Lessons Learned Our numerous interviews with those engaged in highly implemented POS revealed that collaboration and effective communication played pivotal roles. Col-laborations with institutions like commu-nity colleges and career centers provided many of the supports needed to develop comprehensive POS, and support the Januar y 2012 Techniques 23

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