CTE instructors contribute to national career readiness tests

Students taking video production, visual and performing arts, sound engineering and other multimedia courses at career and technical education centers across Maine regularly take assessments to determine whether they’ve mastered the course expectations.

Soon, multimedia students won’t be taking just any test, but an assessment that tests their mastery of the skills considered important by the businesses that might some day employ them. And their teachers will have had a hand in developing the test.

Eight teachers from CTE centers across Maine met at the Maine Department of Education in Augusta recently to sift through existing test items and develop new ones that line up with the skills they teach and the skills industry representatives have told them they value in the people they employ.

“This is going to be better for our kids,” said David Beane, who teaches new media at Portland Arts and Technology High School. “That’s why I’m doing it.”

The result will be statistically reliable, end-of-course assessments for students studying any number of skills that fall under the multimedia umbrella.

“You’re getting corporate and business buy-in,” said Ken Potthoff, an instructional designer and trainer with the Career and Technical Education Education Consortium of the States, the national organization to which Maine belongs that will produce the skills assessments and make them available to its members.

The test items developed by the Maine teachers will contribute to a growing bank of test items developed by teachers in Nevada, Virginia, Minnesota and elsewhere – all in collaboration with industry representatives with a stake in the preparedness of the students studying multimedia disciplines in their states.

Maine teachers have collaborated with the Maine Association of Broadcasters to determine what skills are expected of successful employees.

The assessments are the latest step in moving Maine’s career and technical education programs in line with industry expectations for workplace skills. Legislation making its way through the Maine House and Senate, LD 1779, would formally adopt industry-related standards for Maine’s career and technical education programs in an effort to better prepare the state’s students for success in college and careers.

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