ACTE Techniques January 2012 : Page 37

PHOTOS COURTESy OF NRCCTE hands-on, active participation in both classrooms and in the community/work-place to sustain student interest, engage-ment and understanding. In study sites, skills and knowledge were also developed and enhanced through instruction that met both academic and workplace com-petency expectations. Such strategies led to improvements in student achievement outcomes. Districts and states in our study were able to cite data that showed that CTE students were doing well and even outperforming average, non-CTE students in their states. District and state data showed that students in POS had higher high school graduation rates. The study supported what we’ve known for a while: Relationships matter. Several people interviewed noted that: “You have it backwards. It’s not rigor, relevance and relationships; it’s relationships, relevance and rigor.” Good collaborations between educators and business and industry www.acteonline.org stakeholders were especially important to ensuring rigorous academic and career-related POS curricula that would be relevant for the workplace. The successful development of these important instruc-tional materials was considered a by-product of the cooperative, friendly relationships between education and business. Findings Some findings from the Six States study regarding the development of effective CTE and general educational reform program are listed here, not necessarily in the order of their importance. Technical assistance is provided at both the state and local levels: Technical assistance for POS development came from both the state and local levels. Every state had a technical assistance team that was competent and passionate about ensuring the success of POS efforts. Champions deliver much of technical assistance: At the state level, and often even more so at the local level, technical assistance was delivered by “champions,” people deeply commit-ted to CTE and program collaborations. Many came originally from Tech Prep and were able to leverage their knowledge of program components to forge better and stronger secondary and postsecond-ary collaborations, as well as articulated, aligned curricula. POS are more than just about CTE—they are about basic educa-tional reform connecting academic learning with real-world contexts: Most participants in the six states sug-gested that their ongoing POS system efforts were a positive force because these efforts promoted dialogue among and between the state, secondary and post-secondary institutions, and business and industry personnel. The POS system in Januar y 2012 Techniques 37

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