Report Explores Needed Changes in Professional Development for Secondary Career and Technical Education

Report Explores Needed Changes in Professional Development for Secondary Career and Technical Education

Louisville, KY

The National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE), funded by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education, released Professional Development for Secondary Career and Technical Education: Implications for Change, which explores the current state of professional development for secondary-level career and technical education (CTE) teachers and how that professional development needs to change.

Public expectations and school reform have broadened the expectations of secondary CTE from preparation for entry-level jobs to preparation for both employment and postsecondary education, placing a premium on high-level skills, adaptability, and innovation. The authors of this report ask whether teachers’ professional development has changed to reflect these new expectations. This report examined the literature to determine which elements would make today’s professional development more effective. The report’s authors adopted the following characteristics in the definition of professional
development: comprehensive, sustained, systemic, and based on identified needs of

The report concludes that secondary CTE professional development providers should consider the following three questions when designing programs:

1. What do teachers most need to learn to prepare students for both employment and further education?

2. How can professional development experiences be structured so as to incorporate the characteristics that the literature identifies as essential to effective professional development?

3. Are adequate resources available to provide the professional development that is needed?

If the academic skills of CTE students are to be improved, CTE teachers cannot accomplish this on their own. Collaboration with academic teachers is necessary. “Ensuring that teachers have the skills and knowledge to identify their students’ learning needs and the ability to deliver instruction that responds to those needs is finally receiving the attention it deserves,” said NRCCTE Director James R. Stone III.

For more information on this report visit the NRCCTE website at

Kirsten Sundell
Communications Director

Cara DiMattina
Dissemination Coordinator

About the NRCCTE

The National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) is the primary agent for generating scientifically based knowledge, dissemination, professional development, and technical assistance to improve career and technical education (CTE) in the United States. The NRCCTE works to improve the engagement, achievement, and transition of high school and postsecondary CTE students through technical assistance to states, professional development for CTE practitioners, and dissemination of knowledge derived from scientifically based research. The NRCCTE is funded by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education.