Below are some examples of efforts aimed at creating common data standards and classifications, and statewide longitudinal data systems.
Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) is a national collaborative effort to develop voluntary, common data standards for a key set of education data elements to streamline the exchange, comparison, and understanding of data within and across P-20W institutions and sectors.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released version 3 of the CEDS, which focuses on elements and modeling in the Early Learning, K12, and Postsecondary sectors and also expands into career and technical education, adult education, workforce, and support for the Race to the Top Assessments.
One of the challenges of CTE for national policymakers has been the difficulty of comparing information about program performance around the country. While there is much valuable data and research available about CTE, more high-quality research is always helpful in advocacy and program improvement benchmarking. Collectively, the CTE profession has the opportunity to provide recommendations to update and organize the CTE courses identified in the national School Codes for Exchange of Data (SCED) system. The course coding system is often used for national research studies and student transcript work across the country as a common set of courses.
Led by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the "CTE Courses: Creating Commonality with SCED" project will include input from the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), ACTE, the US Department of Education (ED) and, most importantly, practitioners in the field. Working groups of 6-8 people per Career Cluster™ will work together to update and align CTE course names and definitions with the help of resources provided by the steering committee of ACTE, NASDCTEc and DOE representatives.
The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purposes of collecting and reporting workforce data. The SOC classifies workers into one of 840 detailed occupations based on job duties and, in some cases, on skills, education, and/or training. The SOC also combines these detailed occupations into 461 broad occupations, 97 minor occupational groups, and 23 major occupational groups.
The Federal government periodically revises the SOC. The revision process for the current 2010 version of the SOC is now underway. During this process, an inter-agency SOC Policy Committee will solicit public input through a Federal Register notice to be published by the end of 2013. Comments from that initial notice will result in a proposed revision that will be available for public comment through a second Federal Register notice in early 2015. Publication of the final 2018 SOC codes, titles, and definitions will occur in early 2017.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), in conjunction with a number of national and state partners, is sponsoring a project to explore how to expand and improve data exchange between industry certification organizations and state longitudinal data systems. The current certification partners include CompTIA and the Manufacturing Institute. The Department of Education is interested in this effort to develop solutions to the issues surrounding state collection of valid and reliable data as industry certifications and licensure are a growing part of the expected outcomes of career and technical education programs. The Department is also interested in interacting with other federal agencies with similar interests, a goal this project will help meet.
Over the next year, the project will focus on raising awareness of the need for improving data exchange as well as conducting a pilot between CompTIA and/or NAM working with up to five states to replicate and expand on the Illinois project over a one-year time period starting in December 2012.