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Career and Technical Education (CTE) | Data Management

5 Top Reasons to Consider a CTE-Specific Data Management Solution

February 22nd, 2024 | 8 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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If you’re working as an administrator in a career and technical education (CTE) program, chances are you’re tasked with tracking student and program performance data. Every year, you must keep tabs on student pass rates and learner performance on industry-recognized certifications while ensuring compliance with state and federal education regulations. 

CTE administrators use various methods to keep track of this essential data, from pen and paper to spreadsheets to full-scale data management systems. But even if you already have a system in place to track performance in your school or district, you may want to consider a solution designed explicitly for CTE programs. 

In this article, you’ll discover five of the best reasons to consider a CTE-specific data management solution: 

  1. Industry-Recognized Certifications 
  2. Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) 
  3. Internships and Field Experiences 
  4. Tracking Specific Lessons and Assessments 
  5. Career Placement 

Once you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a good idea of the types of information a CTE-driven data management system so you can decide if it could be a better fit for your program’s needs. 


1. Industry-Recognized Certifications 

In today’s evolving educational world, industry-recognized certifications are increasingly the proof of the success of a CTE program. When learners can earn these credentials while still in high school, they demonstrate that they have the knowledge necessary to work in a specific industry and have transferrable skills that can help them succeed in any field. 

Under the guidance of educational agencies, CTE programs throughout the country have put an increased emphasis on demonstrating student success through industry certifications. Programs often align courses to the standards of a specific certification so that as many learners as possible can become industry-certified. 

But without a CTE-specific data management solution in place, it can be difficult to keep track of certification pass rates, demographics, and other crucial information that demonstrate your program’s ability to prepare students for career opportunities. This means you may not be able to communicate the success of your program when reporting data, potentially jeopardizing funding and future opportunities for your teachers and graduates. 

A CTE-specific data management solution tracks all this information so you can know which students are earning which certifications and make better-informed decisions about which credentials to pursue in the future. 


2. Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) 

One of the greatest opportunities for CTE students to learn and showcase new skills is through active involvement in Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). With multiple organizations designed around specific career pathways, CTSOs offer learners ample opportunities to learn additional industry-specific skills, make connections with their peers, enter competitions, and pursue leadership opportunities. 

CTSO involvement is one important way CTE graduates stand out to potential employers, and being a part of a local chapter is often a pathway toward career success. But the reality is that most ordinary data management solutions ignore CTSO involvement. 

Data management systems engineered toward general education typically don’t account for students’ involvement in these vital extracurricular activities. But although CTSO data looks different than grades and certification pass rates, it’s essential to understanding the full landscape of a CTE program. 

With a CTE-specific data management solution in place, administrators can look at CTSO involvement to recognize how active participation correlates with better test scores, higher concentrator and completer rates, and improved performance on industry certifications. 

Tracking CTSO participation can make all the difference in proving the success of your program and encouraging the support of community stakeholders!


3. Internships and Field Experiences

While traditional educational models emphasize learning in a conventional classroom environment, CTE administrators know that one of the biggest strengths of their programs is the ability to incorporate internships and field experiences with industry partners in their communities.

Work-based learning (WBL) allows students to gain valuable career experience while still in high school. But traditional data management solutions rarely account for WBL opportunities such as internships and field experiences. Some CTE programs might not even keep a reliable record of WBL opportunities, even though these are an important measure of learning and success in their programs.

However, a CTE-specific data management solution ensures that each aspect of WBL is properly accounted for in your data analyses and reporting. A comprehensive data management system will track each student’s internships and field experiences, accounting for the number of hours spent in each experience and the specific CTE skills demonstrated through work. It will also allow learners to journal about their experiences.

Collecting and organizing this information creates a tangible reminder of the value of building industry partnerships in your community and can lead to increased funding and additional opportunities in the future. 


4. Tracking Specific Lessons and Assessments

With student achievement on exams and industry-sponsored certifications an increasingly important part of successful CTE programs, educators are looking for more ways to correlate day-to-day instruction with positive outcomes. Ideally, administrators would be able to understand how individual lessons and assessments prepare students for success on assessments in their career opportunities.

But with conventional spreadsheets and rudimentary data management tools, tracking these specifics is extremely difficult or often impossible. Missing this information leaves teachers in the dark about which lessons are most effective and how they can fine-tune CTE programs to ensure more students pass certifications and are successfully placed in professions of their choosing.

However, CTE-specific data management systems overcome these difficulties by connecting with your student information systems (SIS) to collect and store data from each lesson and assessment. This way, you’ll be able to measure how effective your program is in preparing students for specific certifications and assessments so they can stand out from their peers when it comes to employment opportunities. Plus, you’ll have the data to prove the value of your curriculum when it comes to reporting and budgeting for the next school year. 


5. Career Placement 

Finally, a CTE-specific data management system ensures that you are effectively tracking the wide range of professional opportunities pursued by your program’s graduates. 

Traditional secondary education often focuses unilaterally on college placement. Yet as a CTE administrator, you know that a university education isn’t the right path for every student. In fact, one of CTE’s biggest strengths is that it helps learners become confident that they can have financially viable and personally fulfilling careers without necessarily attending a four-year college.

But to prove to students, parents, and community partners the value of CTE, it’s critical that you track career placement specific to CTE graduates. Are your students’ internships and field experiences leading directly to employment with those same companies? Does earning an industry certification help ensure students a job with a community partner?

The best way to answer these questions is through effectively tracking your career placement data. But if you use spreadsheets or a general database, there’s a good chance you’re missing these crucial connections between program performance and career placement.

Because a CTE-specific solution allows you to collect and report on the full spectrum of program data, you’re able to see connections between various aspects of your program and how they correlate directly with completion and career placement. And since all your data is accounted for in the same place, you can be confident in your analysis when making critical decisions. 


Consider Eduthings for CTE-Specific Data Management and Reporting

CTE administrators are tasked with tracking and reporting a range of essential data to comply with state and federal regulations, access valuable funding, and prove the success of their programs. However, without a CTE-specific data management system, it can be difficult to demonstrate to others the full picture of what your program accomplishes. 

In this article, you’ve discovered five reasons to consider a data management solution designed specifically for your CTE program. But where do you find a system that tracks all this information and simplifies the reporting process? 

For a CTE-centric data management solution specifically designed for your program, Eduthings is the ideal choice for capturing the entire CTE experience. With Eduthings, you get a custom solution that integrates with your student information systems (SIS) to accurately track and store data from across your entire CTE program, making reporting and analysis simple. 

Want to learn more about how Eduthings serves as your CTE command center to transform data management and reporting? Visit the Eduthings webpage, where you can sign up for a custom demo for your program:

Discover Eduthings: Your CTE Command Center