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Release Date

November 30, 2018

New Report Explains How K-12 School and Community College Alignment Helps Student Success

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and Education Strategy Group (ESG) this week released a series of recommendations to support community college presidents and trustees as they continue to work to improve graduation and labor market outcomes for students.

From the release:

In recent years, community colleges have been at the center of many education policy conversations-and with good reason. Two-year institutions play a critical role in our educational ecosystem by providing open-access education to more than 40% of the nation's undergraduates. Those students represent a substantial majority of the country's first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority undergraduates. Higher education is necessary in today's global economy and community colleges afford individuals opportunities to learn the skills needed to enter the workforce and earn a family-sustaining wage. Further, educated Americans are more likely to productively engage in their community.

"Community college leaders today are charged with doing more for students with fewer resources," said ACCT President and CEO J. Noah Brown. "We know that trustees and presidents are up to the challenge-and we are proud to offer this actionable, practical resource to help our members navigate such complex terrain."

The need for community colleges and their K-12 peers to collaborate is more critical than ever before. College- and career-focused measures are now included in K-12 system accountability metrics in more than 40 states; ensuring that high schools are measured, in part, based on how well prepared their students are for postsecondary transitions.

Perkins V, which was passed into law on July 31, 2018, now requires state career and technical education systems to include a strategy for joint planning and alignment between K-12 and postsecondary. Further, under the umbrella of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, more states are aligning the work of in-school, out-of-school, and adult training programs through their workforce development boards.

"Today, community colleges are facing increased pressures to improve graduation and labor market outcomes," said Matt Gandal, president of Education Strategy Group. "Community colleges across the country continue to meet this challenge by locking arms with K-12 school systems to align academic, navigational, and career supports. These collaborations have been game changers, setting students on a path to succeed in higher education and beyond."

Aligning for Student Success: How Community Colleges Work with K-12 to Improve College and Career Outcomes calls on community college presidents and trustees to implement strategies to accelerate academic transitions, extend navigational supports, and serve as career bridges from high school to the workforce. The report identifies successful community college practices and offers high-level strategies community college presidents and trustees can take to partner with K-12 to dramatically improve student outcomes. The report specifically recommends that community colleges focus on three priorities:

  1. Accelerate Academic Transitions: Community colleges can partner with K-12 school systems to provide opportunities for students to "speed-up" their learning through early postsecondary course-taking opportunities in high school or "catch-up" to a college-ready level through 12th grade transitions courses that bring developmental education down to high school
  2. Extend Navigational Supports: Community colleges can work with K-12 partners to strengthen academic counseling and provide clear academic and career pathways for students.
  3. Serve as Career Bridges: Community colleges can and should serve as career bridges that guide students from high school to a credential with currency in the labor market.

The report profiles successful programs at a variety of community colleges that serve as exemplary models, including:

  • The City University of New York and State University of New York's focus on using the 12th-grade year to increase academic readiness
  • Miami Dade College's early advising to support students to and through college
  • Maryland's Montgomery College and Prince George's Community College's mapping of transfer and career opportunities to accelerate baccalaureate degree completion through collaboration

"Community colleges have been providing workforce education for decades," noted Walter G. Bumphus, AACC's president and CEO. "Now, more than ever, they are working to align educational and training programs for students with the needs of local business and industry. Those efforts are a bridge between students, education, and jobs and are critical to ensuring that Americans are able to meet the needs of the 21st Century global workforce."

The organizations are encouraging community college leaders to review the report and for college boards and presidents to consider what interventions might work best for their institutions and students. Additional resources and opportunities for collaboration will also be made available to institutions interested in advancing this work.

For more information, download Aligning for Student Success: How Community Colleges Work with K-12 to Improve College and Career Outcomes

Release Date

November 30, 2018

ACTE Releases Updated Quality CTE Framework and Program Self-Evaluation

The Association for Career and Technical Education has recently released its Quality CTE Program of Study Framework.

High-quality CTE has become a national catchphrase in use by policymakers, practitioners, and education and workforce development stakeholders. But what is high-quality CTE? To bring clarity to this conversation, ACTE has created an evidence-based framework defining high-quality CTE across 12 elements (listing below).

The 2018 version of the framework is the culmination of research, several rounds of feedback and pilot testing. It is accompanied by a program self-evaluation instrument, which can be completed in print or using our new online evaluation form. If filled out online, users can receive automatically calculated scores, save and print their results, and be connected to the High-quality CTE Tools online library for areas identified as needing improvement.

In addition to being a voluntary tool for self-assessment and program improvement, the Quality CTE Program of Study Framework also serves as a guide for ACTE's work in disseminating best practices and providing professional development. ACTE will be releasing additional quality resources in 2019 and 2020, including a new Techniques column, a new paper series and an expanded rubric that will more specifically describe what progress and success looks like for each of the criteria. ACTE will also institute a revision process for the framework, so that we can keep it up-to-date as the CTE field evolves and changes.

The twelve elements:

Standards-aligned and Integrated Curriculum Facilities, Equipment, Technology and Materials
Sequencing and Articulation Business and Community Partnerships
Student Assessment Student Career Development
Prepared and Effective Program Staff Work-based Learning
Engaging Instruction Work-based Learning
Access and Equity Data and Program Improvement
Updated: November 30, 2018