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Apr 21 -- The Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Department of Education (ED), invites comments to OMB by May 22, 2023 regarding the proposed National Evaluation of Career and Technical Education Under Perkins V.

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) mandates a national evaluation of career and technical education (CTE) to examine key aspects of CTE across the nation, including CTE policy and program implementation, participation and outcomes, and effectiveness. This new data collection will consist of two surveys that will be conducted in 2023 to collect information about CTE policy and program implementation: (1) a survey of all state directors of CTE and (2) a nationally representative sample of district coordinators of CTE.
 
Policymakers have increasingly emphasized the importance of an educated and skilled workforce as essential to economic mobility and American competitiveness. As such, the federal law governing career and technical education (CTE), most recently reauthorized through the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act in 2018 (Perkins V), aims to improve the academic and technical skills of secondary and postsecondary students and help prepare them for careers in high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand occupations. Perkins V continued many provisions of the prior law but also included a set of important policy changes. These shifts in requirements and options appear designed to: (1) foster equity by expanding participation and success in CTE for all students, including students in underserved groups, (2) enhance CTE quality through specific mechanisms for program alignment, innovation, and improvement, and (3) increase funding and accountability flexibilities.

How states and districts respond to the combination of flexibilities and requirements are a signal of whether Perkins V achieves its objectives. The U.S. Department of Education (the Department), through its Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is requesting clearance for this information collection to support a required national evaluation of CTE under Perkins V.

Perkins V mandates a national evaluation of CTE to examine the status of CTE and its outcomes, as specified in Public Law 115-224, Section 114(d)(2), and assigns to IES the responsibility to conduct the evaluation. The national evaluation of CTE will draw on a variety of data sources and studies for its assessment of CTE. A new data collection, the subject of this information collection request, will consist of two surveys that will be conducted in 2023 to collect information about CTE implementation: (1) a survey of all state directors of CTE and (2) a nationally representative sample of district coordinators of CTE.

This information collection is an essential component of the overall national evaluation of CTE and is the only collection planned to examine current CTE implementation and state and district responses to the major reforms of Perkins V. The last time the Department surveyed states and districts as part of a national assessment of CTE was over ten years ago in 2010. Each reauthorization of the Perkins Act sets up a need to evaluate federal CTE programs and policies to inform the next reauthorization of the Perkins legislation.

The purpose of this collection is to provide information on the core CTE policies and practices being implemented at the state and district levels and that are emphasized in Perkins V. Evidence on the nature of CTE programming and the context in which CTE operates is an important source of policy information. As such, survey data from states and districts will be collected to address a set of key research questions on CTE implementation since there is no uniform source of current information on these topics for states and districts.  

The proposed information collection is intended to address two overarching research questions:

-- To what extent and how does current CTE implementation reflect the priorities and goals of Perkins V? A key objective for this information collection is to assess implementation of the new law, including shifts in accountability, program emphasis, and use of funds, and how it aligns with the statute’s priorities. The Department is also interested in the barriers state and local agencies report in trying to carry out Perkins V.

-- In what important ways has CTE implementation evolved since Perkins IV? Another goal of this information collection is to understand more broadly how CTE is changing. This could be achieved by comparing results from these surveys to those administered in 2010 under a previous mandated assessment of the Perkins Act. Such a comparison would require repeating some items from the previous survey instruments.

The American Institutes for Research, the current contractor to IES, will administer two data collection activities:

-- State survey. This web-based survey will focus on state CTE policies and supports. The study team will send the survey to the state director of CTE in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and six U.S. territories—American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas, Palau, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—beginning in June 2023. Different sections of the survey may be filled out by different staff, as determined by their areas of expertise. States receiving Perkins V funds are expected to cooperate in Department evaluations following the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) (34 C.F.R. § 76.591).

-- District survey. This web-based survey will focus on the implementation of state CTE policies, adoption of district CTE policies and practices, and supports provided to schools. The study team will send the survey to the district coordinator of CTE in a nationally representative sample of 850 Perkins-eligible school districts beginning in June 2023. While Perkins-eligible school districts include those that receive funding under Perkins V (funded LEAs) and those that do not receive funding (non-funded LEAs), the survey will only focus on funded LEAs. Districts receiving Perkins V funds are expected to cooperate in Department evaluations following the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) (34 C.F.R. § 76.591).

To inform Congress, the Department, and the field on how Perkins V is being implemented, the study will produce two reports, one each on findings from the state director surveys and the district survey. This data collection is an important part of a larger evaluation of CTE under Perkins V. The larger evaluation will include these implementation surveys, as well as other studies and analyses that will use other sources of information.

A 60-day notice to solicit public comments was published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2023 (Vol. 88, No. 1, p. 66). The Department received two public comments: (1) a joint letter from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and (2) a letter from the Data Quality Campaign. The Department valued the feedback, which offered insights and additional information for survey refinement. Surveys were revised to incorporate the feedback, and responses to the comments are provided in Appendix B.

Perkins V: https://cte.ed.gov/legislation/perkins-v
IES submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202212-1850-004 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-08490

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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