Assessments for academic subjects such as reading, math, and science rightfully form the core of any college-readiness high school program. But the career-ready pathway hasn’t garnered the same level of attention, leaving a substantial portion of the student population less prepared to successfully enter meaningful and challenging careers.

  1. Start with the end, not the beginning
    Typical development processes with core subjects start with standards that drive curriculum, extend to the design of the core course, then subsequently drive the development of formative and summative exams. For exams in which career-readiness is the goal, it is critical to start at the end (the job or certification for which the student wants to be qualified). Strong CTE programs work backward from the job to drive their formative and summative assessments, design courses and curriculum, and then link appropriate standards.
  2. Involve all of the right subject-matter expertise
    Designing and developing a successful CTE program requires multiple types of subject-matter expertise. This includes CTE education experts, core subject education experts, and industry experts. Failing to include all appropriate expertise can result in programs and assessments that fall short of the desired goals.
  3. Match the rigor of industry assessments
    Evaluate the knowledge and skills of your CTE students in light of industry assessment expectations. Understanding the breadth and depth of content covered on industry certification exams, as well as the difficulty of the item and assessments your students will be required to take, is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the industry certifications and ensure your courses and assessments have similar content and rigor so that students are well-prepared for these critical exams.
  4. Follow the leader when setting performance standards
    Setting passing scores for industry exams is a structured process driven by assessment standards. When preparing assessments that are designed to evaluate a student’s readiness for an industry exam, implement a standard setting process similar to one used for industry certifications. This process will help ensure your exam requirements accurately prepare your students for career requirements.
  5. Track career ready statistics the same way you track college ready statistics
    Most schools, districts, and states track student performance statistics in some manner. To ensure equitable preparation for your CTE students, your analytics program should include career ready indicators and provide equitable information regarding early warning indicators that highlight potential issues with career readiness.

Developing effective CTE programs and assessments is not easy—but you don’t have to go it alone. Scantron’s team of assessment experts can provide professional development, consulting, assessment development services, analytics, and digital assessment delivery solutions for CTE programs to help you transform your data-driven instruction and ensure you get the results you want for all of your students.