Improving National Data for Vocational Education: Strengthening a Multiform System

E. G. Hoachlander, K. A. Levesque

Basic questions about the vocational education enterprise--how it is organized and governed, what is offered, who participates, what is accomplished, and what it costs--have dominated policy discussions at the local, state, and federal levels during the past thirty years. On several occasions, Congress has asked for better data on vocational education--most recently, in the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act of 1990, in which Congress directs the Secretary of Education to establish a vocational education data system that, to the extent practicable, would use comparable information elements and uniform definitions to describe the condition of secondary and postsecondary vocational education. To that end, this document aims (1) to identify and rank needs for national data on vocational education, (2) to examine current data collection activities and identify gaps in information on vocational education, (3) to examine conceptual and methodological issues complicating data collection, and (4) to assess the data collection and reporting capacities of local and state providers of vocational education.

MDS-767 / November 1993

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