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 Message from President/CEO John Foster

What defines technical excellence? How do we measure it? How do we know what the right threshold is? Is CTE supposed to be focused on technical excellence? These are all pretty deep questions for the CTE community. NOCTI offers several resources that we believe will help answer these questions. And, while there are a lot of questions regarding excellence, we'd like to provide an overview of what we do know.

Let's start with CTE's role in the greater educational picture. Some would have you believe that CTE is only about serving the needs of employers, about maintaining the CTE infrastructure, and making products and providing services. Others are only focused on CTE as a support mechanism for a more "academically- focused" education program; providing the context and practical applications to make education "come alive." Others would say that CTE is a reform movement; it establishes meaningful long-term exposure to an adult mentor and provides students with a chance to pursue a passion. Others might even want you to believe that CTE is centered on career exploration - about finding experiences that are helpful in making lifelong choices. NOCTI believes CTE is all of these things - but ultimately, we believe that CTE is about providing students with the knowledge and skills to make them feel respected, proud, and ready to engage and shape their own futures.

NOCTI believes technical excellence is foundational to establishing the right goals. It's about picking a target and moving toward that target, and that translates to a focus on skills and knowledge that will help a student prepare for the future. Generally, in CTE this means a validated and credible program of study.

If we select a third-party credential aligned with a Program of Study that is a valid and reliable measure of one's knowledge and skills (e.g., competence), then the next step is to determine the threshold for excellence. What is the context for excellence and to what are students being compared?

NOCTI works with a variety of partners - industry, states, schools, higher education, and industry-based associations. Most partners have a unique method of establishing a performance standard for their assessment instrument. Ultimately though, these standards focus to either an adaptation of a norm (an average score of a population taking the assessment) or an expected score based on a group of vetted experts.

It is with this background that NOCTI began to examine close to one million previous CTE completers across 100 technical fields. The analysis was focused on how the top performers across these technical areas were performing. What we found was strikingly similar across all occupational areas. Although we don't have the space to share the research here, we will be sharing it at ACTE's VISION 2016!

Watch for our partner presentations and two pre-conference sessions at VISION this coming November too. You can find more information about what conferences we'll be attending within this newsletter.

On behalf of the NOCTI staff, our Board, and our Consortium of States, I sincerely hope you had the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and that you started the new year invigorated and ready to continue the great work we do in CTE. Take time to think about the important role each of us plays in growing the workforce. As always, if you have an idea about a new service or product that you would like NOCTI to offer, or have other suggestions or questions for us, please email nocti@nocti.org.

Thank you for trusting NOCTI to deliver the quality assessments, comprehensive test data, and professional development needed to help improve your programs. We look forward to continued service to the CTE community and are anxious to show you how we can meet your needs!

John Foster
NOCTI and Nocti Business Solutions

 We welcome comments
 and suggestions!


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