Idaho: Program Alignment Initiative

 Idaho's Program Alignment Initative establishes statewide articulation agreements and aligns secondary and postsecondary learning outcomes in order to provide learners with a seamless transition from secondary into postsecondary.


Idaho: Program Alignment Initiative

In 2010, the Idaho State Board of Education established a ten year goal to boost college completion rates, so that 60 percent of Idaho’s 25 to 34 year olds hold some form of college degree or certificate. Additionally, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 requires that quality Technical Skills Assessments (TSAs) be in place for all CTE programs. In light of this, in 2013 the Idaho Division of Career and Technical Education (ICTE) launched the Program Alignment Initiative.The Program Alignment Initiative aims to increase the matriculation of high school program concentrators into postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) programs that will equip students with a degree or industry credential.

The goal of the initiative is to establish statewide articulation agreements and align secondary and postsecondary learning outcomes in order to provide learners with a seamless transition from secondary into postsecondary.The Program Alignment Initiative is a three- to four-year, 10-step process that begins with updating the standards for a CTE program and reviewing or creating student learning outcomes for a specific CTE program. The steps include the following:

Aligning Secondary Course Standards with Postsecondary Expectations:

  • The Idaho Program Alignment establishes vertical alignment between secondary and postsecondary programs across the state.
    • Standards for specific CTE programs of study are established with input from industry representatives, secondary instructors and postsecondary instructors.
    • These standards and learning outcomes are validated by industry experts through the use of a survey.

Developing a Framework for Technical Skills Assessment:

  • The input from the survey is then used to inform and design a TSA for the program of study.
  • Results from the TSA are provided to the school districts and to ICTE.
  • The results are used to determine the minimum passing score for the program TSA until the next established assessment update.

Aligning First Semester Standards in Technical Colleges Across the State:

  • The Idaho Program Alignment Initiative establishes horizontal alignment between introductory postsecondary programs in different institutions across the state.
    • Postsecondary program instructors from similar programs meet to determine which of the secondary program student learning outcomes will be taught in the introductory postsecondary courses.
    • Postsecondary program instructors meet to align first-semester learning outcomes in the six technical colleges across the state.

Policy in Action
The strategic implementation of this initiative has taken place over several years. In 2012, ICTE developed the initial framework concept for the Program Alignment Initiative, which it continued to develop into 2013. By 2014, ICTE began updating the standards and student learning outcomes for secondary CTE programs and developing TSAs. In 2015, ICTE added an additional phase to the process that included collaborating with postsecondary institutions to determine the standards to include in the first semester courses with the intention of creating statewide transfer credit. In the 2016-2017 school year, 22 TSAs and 15 pilot TSAs were administered. Additionally, data from these TSAs are being used to develop targeted technical assistance and professional learning opportunities for teachers. As of May 2018, 20 postsecondary programs have achieved statewide alignment of courses in their first semester, 13,095 students were enrolled in CTE courses where students were eligible to earn technical competency credits, and over 6,000 aligned program badges have been awarded.

Related Links
Idaho CTE Program Alignment Initiative Home Page
Handout: Idaho CTE Program Alignment Initiative
PowerPoint Presentation: Idaho CTE Program Alignment Initiative 
Brief: CTE on the Frontier: Catalyzing Local Efforts to Improve Program Quality
White Paper: Idaho Program Alignment- “The Process”
Guide: Idaho CTE Program Alignment Step-by-Step
Idaho CTE Program Alignment Assessments Results

Last Updated August 2019

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