CTE Programs and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Responses, Innovations, and Implications for Future Research
Although the COVID-19 pandemic affected all education programs in the United States, career and technical education (CTE) programs in particular faced significant challenges given the hands-on and team-based nature of many CTE courses. This report presents findings from interviews with 22 CTE programs to learn about their responses to the conditions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs were initially studied and interviewed as part of the CTE Research Network’s evaluability assessment (Hughes et al., 2021), which examined more than 100 CTE programs nominated from the field to identify those ready for rigorous evaluation. Recognizing the significant impact of COVID-19 on CTE programs, the network developed this follow-up study to identify how program offerings and student participation differed from normal operations during the pandemic.
The interviews with the 22 programs were conducted between November 2020 and February 2021. CTE teachers, administrators, and curriculum developers identified the challenges they faced and key lessons learned, as well as the innovations they developed that will carry their CTE programs into the future. This report summarizes the responses and themes and describes considerations for researchers to recognize when studying CTE programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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