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 the Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (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. 


Since 2020, Advance CTE has supported four states and the District of Columbia in this work. A new state cohort will be launched in Fall 2023.

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.

From 2020–2022, 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 Depart 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. 

Based on the experiences of the PDI grantees and participants in its community of practice, Advance CTE identified three specific and persistent challenges to address in future work: 

  • 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.

The second cohort of states will build on lessons learned in this initiative to build internal capacity and make progress in one of three target areas related to the Career Readiness Data Quality & Use Policy Benchmark Tool. To do so, they 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.

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