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National Research Center for Career and Technical Education

This study examined the final program approval for new postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and program review policies and procedures for existing programs based on publicly available Web sites and on follow-up interviews with representatives in the final state approving agency. The purpose of the study was to inventory the various state-level policies and procedures and examine how occupational standards were being incorporated into approval processes. In addition, the study examined the methods by which the states ensured that programs were aligned with labor market needs and how articulation efforts were being incorporated into the final state program approval policy and procedure. The study was limited to public, two-year degree-granting institutions and did not include any policies and procedures for private or proprietary institutions. Findings reveal that there is considerable variation across states with respect to structure, policies, and procedures governing the approval of new programs and the review of existing programs. The typical contents of new program approval applications and of program review guidelines, including their wide variation across state agencies and community college systems, suggests that the decision making process about the establishment of new programs is for all practical purposes delegated to the local institutions. There is also wide variation of the application of the term standards across systems and there is evidence to suggest that state agencies lacked either the time or the expertise necessary to determine the appropriateness of the standards suggested by local institutions. There is even wider variation across state agencies in their understanding and application of criteria related to labor market conditions as a part of program approval and review. Articulation appears to be largely outside of policies and procedures for approval of new programs and review of existing programs. Appendices include: (1) Definitions; (2) State Web Sites; (3) Data Collection Instrument; and (4) State Summaries. (Contains 7 tables, 1 figure, and 1 footnote.)

Descriptors: State Programs, Community Colleges, Labor Market, Program Validation, Articulation (Education), Technical Education, Postsecondary Education, Career Education, Web Sites, Content Analysis, Interviews, Educational Policy, Policy Analysis, Alignment (Education), Academic Standards, Telephone Surveys, State Officials, Administrative Policy, Education Work Relationship

National Research Center for Career and Technical Education. Available from: The National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education. 1900 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1090. Tel: 800-678-6011; Tel: 614-292-9931; Fax: 614-688-3258; e-mail: ndccte[at]; Web site:

Autor: Merkley, Rodney J.; Johnston, George H.


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