Ohio career tech goes from program-based to course-based system

August workshop on new course structure

August workshop on new course structure

Manufacturing and Engineering competencies are so intertwined that these are presented in one document in the new standards.

Manufacturing and Engineering competencies are so intertwined that these are presented in one document in the new standards.

As the 2013-2014 school year launches, Ohio teachers in seven career fields will be greeted with new course-based technical content standards. In early October, revised standards for Construction Technologies, Law and Public safety, Health Science, Information Technology, Transportation Systems and Engineering and Science Technologies/Manufacturing Technologies will be posted on the Web.

In the summer of 2014, new standards should be ready in five more career fields – Marketing, Finance, Business and Administrative Services, Arts and Communication and Agriculture and Environmental Systems.

Three significant changes are reflected in the standards.
1. COURSES – The biggest change is movement from programs to courses. Courses allow more flexibility in design, tighter alignment to postsecondary content, better support of the teacher evaluation system and closer connectivity to assessment with students taking end-of-course exams instead of end-of-program exams.
2. INDUSTRY CONNECTIVITY – Competencies are worded in industry language, reflecting what employee- and college-ready graduates should know and do instead of what they KNOW (i.e. concepts, theory) they should do. Industry credentials – certificates, certifications, degrees, licenses – are reflected within content, where applicable; in many cases, these replace the end-of-program exams in a higher quality, more industry-recognizable way.
3. BUSINESS OPERATIONS AND SKILLS – In place of the previous standards topics such as employability traits, health and safety, law and business processes is a section entitled “Business Operations and 2lst Century Skills.” Common to all career fields, this section encompasses an updated version of the previous sections with heavier emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, research, communication and technology.

Hundreds of business and industry representatives and Grade 9-12/university faculty, including many over this past summer, have been engaged in writing the outcomes and competencies for the new standards. To enable students to be prepared for work and college, this process is necessary every four to five years.

A free “Transitioning to Courses” workshop was conducted on Aug. 28 at Delaware Area Career Center with around 150 educators present.

For information about individual career field standards and the time line for course development, check with the respective pathway consultants. A list is here.