Measuring CTE Effectiveness By Using Return on Investment and Other Related Tools

Project Overview

Principal Investigators

Pradeep Kotamraju
Deputy Director
NRCCTE

CTE is increasingly seen as a major potential contributor to the recovery of the U.S. economy. However, the effectiveness and impact of Perkins IV, which governs CTE, are unclear. Is the federal investment in CTE paying off? To answer this, the field needs to establish the internal efficiency of CTE by comparing the costs and benefits of implementing CTE using Perkins funds at different enterprise levels. A second question is whether CTE has a measurable impact beyond the enterprise level at which it is being implemented—that is, its external effectiveness. Answering these questions may put to rest the frequently held notion that CTE—and by association Perkins IV—has been largely ineffective in affecting U.S. education and workforce development.

Examining the ROI for CTE has been difficult for many reasons, including the weak connectivity within CTE between the three elements that are needed to conduct ROI: data and measurement, accountability and evaluation, and research. Further, ROI for CTE, and maybe even for all of education, has remained limited because of the misperception that ROI is a business-like technique primarily concerned with money and finances that is not relevant to teaching and learning.

This project seeks to inform the CTE community about the building blocks needed for conducting ROI for CTE. The resultant report, Using ROI and Other Related Tools: Guidelines for Measuring CTE Internal Efficiency and External Effectiveness, provides a broad primer of what ingredients need to be taken into consideration in ROI studies.