OECD Report: A Skills beyond School Review of the United States

A Skills beyond School Review of the United States analyzes post-secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE), career-focused associate degrees, post-secondary certificates, and industry certifications in the United States.

The report’s overarching recommendation is: “While taking advantage of the vibrant diversity of the US post-secondary CTE system, balance the decentralized approach with a strategic pursuit of more quality, coherence and transparency” (p.10).

The report lists recommendations to help deliver this overarching recommendation. These include:

• “Substantially strengthen quality assurance in post-secondary education and its links to title IV student aid” (10), which can be accomplished by linking “… institutional eligibility for title IV student aid to consistent and demanding quality standards” (10).

• “Establish a quality standard for certifications and obtain better data on both certifications and certificates…Where industry is willing, establish quality standards for certifications based on industry support and quality in the assessment” (12).

• “Systematically develop and support prior learning assessment both as a means of encouraging adults to return to post-secondary education, and because of its wider benefits” (13).

• “Develop effective articulation frameworks. To this end, among other matters:

- Build articulation requirements into accreditation procedures.
- Use industry recognized standards in CTE programs to increase their comparability.
- Ensure that students have sufficient information and guidance to understand transition opportunities.
- Continue to develop crosswalks between apprenticeships and other post-secondary institutions and programs” (13)

• “Develop workplace training as a standard element in post-secondary CTE programs, taking advantage of the workplace as a learning environment, promoting partnerships between CTE institutions and employers, and securing an effective transition of graduates into employment” (14).