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CTE Content Areas

CTE Program Approval FAQ

What are the characteristics of a NYSED-approved CTE program?

NYSED-approved programs are developed to deliver a related combination of courses and experiences in a career and technical area to confer academic and technical knowledge and skills in preparation for further education, training, and/or employment. The program is taught by appropriately certified and qualified teachers who supplement classroom instruction with work-based experiences for students. Student progress is recorded through a work-skills employability profile, performance on technical assessments, and other data on student performance in academic and technical areas.

What are the steps in the CTE program approval process?

There are several phases to the process, which typically takes at least one year to complete. A detailed description of each part of the process is available in the How to Obtain a NYSED Approval CTE Program video tutorial. 

What are the essential activities of the self-study team?
  • Development of the CTE program of study
  • Review of curriculum
  • Document the process of reviewing and constructing all components of the proposed program
  • Identify and document appropriate work-based learning opportunities
  • Evaluate and identify the technical assessments for the program
  • Development of a work-skills employability profile
  • Description of proposed staff development and training needed to deliver the program
  • Review and verify the appropriateness of faculty certification
  • Development of a self-study report which includes documentation of the review and construction of all program components and  recommendations for action to address “gaps” identified by the self-study team
What is the purpose of the external review team?

The external review committee is formed to review, address, and approve the self-study report, as well as the components of the CTE program. The external review team will:

  • Review the self-study and the career and technical education program  
  • Identify any gaps in meeting requirements for program approval and local needs  
  • Recommend strategies to address identified gaps 

The external review committee, comprised of members with their industry experience and content knowledge, review the self-study report and all proposed components of the program of study. The review of these materials is done to identify any areas in the program that may need further development or improvement. This review occurs prior to the program’s submission to the superintendent of school or the district superintendent for board of education action. 

How long will the CTE program approval be in effect?

A CTE program approval is valid for up to five years.

What agencies may submit a CTE program for approval?

All public education agencies accredited by the Commissioner as providers of secondary education programs may submit an application for CTE program approval.

May a technical endorsement be affixed to the high school diploma if the CTE program has not been approved?

No. Only students successfully completing a NYSED-approved CTE program, including a technical assessment, may be awarded a technical endorsement on a high school, Regents diploma or a Regents diploma with an advanced designation.

What is a CTE specialized course?

A specialized CTE course, upon approval by the school superintendent or designee, allows students to fulfill a core course requirement in English, mathematics, social studies, or science after the student passes the required Regents examination(s) in that core academic subject area. A specialized course is one that is co-developed by a CTE teacher(s) and a core academic teacher(s) and is based on the commencement-level of the state learning standards in that subject. It develops the subject in greater depth and breadth or may be interdisciplinary. Successful completion of one unit of study in a specialized CTE course may be awarded only one unit of credit but may be used to meet the distribution requirements in more than one subject. A specialized course must be taught by a teacher certified in at least one of the disciplines.

For a video tutorial and policy guidance relating to integrated and specialized credit, please visit the program content webpage.

What is a CTE integrated course?

An integrated career and technical course is a course that combines CTE and academic commencement-level state learning standards and may be jointly developed and taught by an academic subject teacher and/or a career and technical education teacher. Successful completion of one unit of study in an integrated CTE course may be awarded only one unit of credit but may be used to meet the distribution requirements in more than one subject. For students who have not successfully completed the Regents examination in the related academic subject area, the integrated course must be taught by a teacher certified in that subject.

For a video tutorial and policy guidance relating to integrated and specialized credit, please visit the program content webpage.

How do credit distribution requirements differ for students enrolled in an approved CTE program?

Students enrolled in an approved CTE program may earn up to one unit each of required credit in English, science and mathematics, and the combined unit of economics and government through CTE specialized courses, CTE integrated courses, or a combination of specialized and integrated CTE and academic courses.

For more information regarding the distribution of credits for students in a NYSED-approved CTE program, please review the program content video tutorial.

Is passing a technical assessment required for graduation?

No. A technical assessment must be passed by a student in an approved CTE program in order to receive the technical endorsement on a Regents diploma.

However, in order for a student to use the 4+1 CTE pathway for graduation, the student must pass the technical assessment. Completion of the approved program, which includes passing the three-part technical assessment fulfills the fifth assessment requirement for graduation.

May a student earn a technical endorsement on the high school diploma simply by earning the industry-based credential without completion of the other CTE program criteria?

No. A student must compete all components of the approved CTE program to be eligible for the technical endorsement on the diploma.

What constitutes a technical assessment?

A technical assessment is an industry-developed assessment consisting of written examination(s), student project(s) and student demonstration(s) of technical skills to measure proficiency in a specific technical field through the application of national standards in such technical field. Assessments in several content areas that lead to state licensure or certification are also used as technical assessments.

For more information, please visit the technical assessment webpage.

What may a school district/BOCES do if a nationally recognized technical assessment is not available for a specific CTE program?

If no assessment exists in a particular technical field, a school district may form a consortium of local, regional, or national businesses or related professional organizations to create an assessment. Psychometric considerations regarding validity and reliability must be addressed for all assessments used in NYSED-approved CTE programs. Other requirements apply for consortium-developed technical skills assessments that will be used in approved programs.

For more information, please visit the technical assessment webpage.

How does CTE apply to transition planning for students with disabilities?

Access to CTE should be discussed as part of a student’s transition planning.  Planning should address the need for accommodations and supports that will enable a student with a disability to participate in appropriate CTE programs based on student needs, preferences, and interests. Appropriate programs are those that enable students with disabilities to work toward their post-school goals as identified on their Individualized Education Program (IEP).  The annual assessment levels of performance should be aligned with the skill components addressed in the work-skills employability profile. The competencies achieved in each completed career and technical education course will be documented on the work-skills employability profile.

Can a student who has earned a local diploma receive a technical endorsement on that diploma?

Beginning with the graduation class of June 2002, students earning a local diploma can receive a technical endorsement if they successfully complete a NYSED-approved CTE program, including a technical assessment.

Should testing accommodations be provided for students with disabilities on technical assessments?

According to federal and State laws and regulations, students with disabilities, like their nondisabled peers, must have access to the full range of education programs and services, including courses, tests, and examinations, to the extent appropriate for each individual student. Also, they must receive testing accommodations as specified in their individualized education program (IEP) in all tests (teacher, district, State, etc.). When participating in CTE programs a student must be able to complete the necessary CTE program requirements.

What is a testing accommodation?

Testing accommodations are changes in testing procedures or formats which provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in test situations and to demonstrate their mastery of knowledge and skills without being limited or unfairly restricted due to the effects of their disability. Testing accommodations can change the way in which test items are presented to the student, the student’s method of responding to test items, or the process a student uses to derive responses to test items. Testing accommodations are not intended to substitute for knowledge or skills necessary to the performance of CTE that the student has not achieved. Testing accommodations are not to provide an unfair advantage over students taking tests and examinations under standardized conditions. They also should not change the construct of the test.

Testing accommodations are based on individual student needs and educational characteristics. The Committee on Special Education  must specify the types of accommodations to be provided on the student’s IEP. Testing accommodations can include, but not be limited to: flexible scheduling, flexible settings, revised format or test directions, and use of aids or other accommodations. Students classified under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act must also be provided appropriate accommodations as documented in their 504 Plan and approved by the multi-disciplinary team.