Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (PDI)

Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (PDI)

Advance CTE’s Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (PDI) is exploring how state leaders can cultivate high-quality postsecondary data ecosystems that can assist postsecondary institutions in offering career pathways that meet learner interests and are aligned to a good career. 


About the Initiative

Advance CTE launched PDI in 2020 to examine critical problems of practice, develop resources, and implement innovative solutions to improve the quality and use of postsecondary CTE. In doing so, we aim to assist states in using data to improve CTE program offerings, strengthen outcomes equitably across learner groups, and align the interests of learners with industry and programmatic needs. To date, grantees have included university and community college systems, higher education coordinating agencies, and state departments of education. 


In 2023, Advance CTE announced a second round of PDI funding targeted at three persistent challenges identified in the last round of funding from 2020–2022:

  • There is a lack of clearly defined postsecondary CTE data elements, linkages, and business rules hampering the efficacy of accountability and reporting across silos.
  • There is limited availability of actionable learner-centered data that enables institutions and faculty to provide learner support in real time.
  • It is difficult creating effective postsecondary CTE data communications and strategies to drive use beyond compliance requirements.

Four states have been awarded grants of $40,000 each across two of the persistent challenges:

  • Delaware Department of Education will focus on improving accessibility and understanding of postsecondary CTE data so that both learners and families can make decisions informed by data about their education journey, and CTE professionals can provide high-quality program design and support. The work will include the development of dynamic visuals and a public summary document of performance outcomes across learner populations.
  • Iowa Department of Education will focus on ensuring each learner’s education journey is fully counted and communicated by expanding noncredit elements in their current data system and creating a live, linked, and searchable database of all secondary, postsecondary credit, and postsecondary noncredit offerings.
  • New Mexico Public Education Department will focus on cross-agency collaboration to create meaningful data collection definitions and methodologies that align with the actual postsecondary CTE experience across the state. 
  • South Carolina Technical College System will focus on improving postsecondary CTE data communications and use to ensure CTE professionals, learners, and families have full and digestible data to make decisions about program offerings through the development of a statewide postsecondary performance data dashboard. 

The four states will receive support from Advance CTE through intensive technical assistance, monthly coaching, and research support. A community of practice will also be open to all states to discuss common successes and challenges in CTE data quality.

Advance CTE previously supported four states and the District of Columbia in this work from 2020–2022. These five grantees conducted a comprehensive needs assessment of their CTE data infrastructure using the Career Readiness Data Quality and Use Policy Benchmark Tool and developed action plans.

The PDI grantees made notable improvements to postsecondary CTE data quality and use that are further detailed in the resources below: 

  • The Alabama Community College System and Florida Department of Education developed new data elements and linkages; 
  • The Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Council created an innovative data display to share institutional performance with stakeholders;
  • The Alabama Community College System and Delaware Department of Education engaged postsecondary CTE administrators in equity-minded data training; and
  • The District of Columbia Community College conducted mid-term learner surveys and communicated results to faculty to foster a culture of data-driven decision-making to better support learners. 

The Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative is funded by ECMC Foundation.