As many CTE programs look to increase work-based learning opportunities for students, efforts to track and then study the implementation and quality of work-based learning—in addition to the role it plays in student outcomes—are increasingly important.
Building Robust Work-Based Learning Data Collection Systems: Ideas from the Field
About the Research Study
A team of network researchers and advisory board members is conducting a study to document and synthesize promising practices and innovations in use at districts to collect work-based learning (WBL) data. The team seeks to help state and district leaders improve WBL data collection at the secondary level, with the ultimate goal of helping the CTE field provide more robust data to support program improvement, evaluation, and impact research. The project builds on the network publication Improving Measurement in Career and Technical Education to Support Rigorous Research.
The study team will generate district profiles that include contextual information about each selected district's WBL data collection system and how it interacts with state requirements and supports. In addition, the team is documenting insights from district and school personnel directly involved in collecting WBL data about challenges and opportunities that could inform state-level data systems. By better understanding district- and school-level concerns, state agencies can develop systems and supports that are feasible and actionable and that gain buy-in from district data staff.
The study will benefit district administrators and data coordinators, who can apply the practices locally to improve their WBL data collection. In turn, state administrators can use the study results to inform district supports and state-level systems for tracking college and career readiness efforts. By collecting more complete and accurate WBL data, districts and states can better identify and address equity gaps in access to high-quality WBL experiences. In addition, researchers can use the more robust data to examine WBL's contribution to CTE programs and impact on student outcomes.
Nominate a district or program: If you would like to nominate a district or CTE program that conducts innovative or exemplary work-based learning data collection to be profiled as part of the study, please contact the project director Kelly Reese at email@example.com.
Study period: One year (September 2022–August 2023)
This supplemental CTE Research Network project is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305H190036.
About the Research Team
This project is a collaboration of researchers and advisory board members from across the CTE Research Network. Kathy Hughes, a principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research and the Network's director and principal investigator (PI), also serves as PI for the study. Bryan Hutchins, a research specialist at the SERVE Center, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, serves as the Co-PI.