The Future of CTE: Programs of Study

The Future of CTE: Programs of Study

Rob Shumer and Cynthia Digby
Jan 2012

This article describes one of the NRCCTE's two qualitative investigations of POS, Six Stories About Six States: Programs of Study. This project, now concluded, focused on how POS were developed, and especially on how technical assistance was provided to strengthen and improve them.  

The Six States project report noted the power of project-based learning (PBL) and hands-on, active participation in both classrooms and in the community/workplace to sustain student interest, engagement and understanding. In study sites, skills and knowledge were also developed and enhanced through instruction that met both academic and workplace competency expectations. Such strategies led to improvements in student achievement outcomes. Districts and states in the study were able to cite data that showed that CTE students were doing well and even outperforming average, non-CTE students in their states. District and state data also showed that students in POS had higher high school graduation rates.

The study supported what has been known for a while: Relationships matter. Good collaborations between educators and business and industry stakeholders were especially important to ensuring rigorous academic and career-related POS curricula that would be relevant for the workplace. The successful development of these important instructional materials was considered a by-product of the cooperative, friendly relationships between education and business.


Shumer, R., & Digby, C. (2012). The future of CTE: Programs of study. Techniques, 87(1), 36-39.