The NCPQVE: An Introduction

While other fields at the secondary level have rapidly embraced national curriculum standards and goals, vocational education continues to vary widely in content, scope, and methodology across the nation. At present, the notion of establishing "national standards" in this content area has focused largely on developing industry skill standards.

Yet in today's changing world of work, critical evaluation of curriculum is a helpful step toward realizing national goals (such as those outlined in Goals 2000) for education and in fulfilling the vision of new and emerging vocationalism (Tech Prep, youth apprenticeship, career academies). Standards for curriculum and instructional products, encompassing appropriate student outcomes and highly effective instruction, would establish important benchmarks for products used by schools and postsecondary institutions in implementing these new education-for-work initiatives.

The National Consortium for Product Quality in Vocational Education (NCPQVE) is a project funded by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education, and directed by the Center on Education and Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The NCPQVE has been established to accomplish a twofold mission: to devleop, research, and implement vocational education product standards; and to develop a national review process by which voluntarily-submitted materials can be reviewed, evaluated, and nationally disseminated.

The NCPQVE provides research-based evaluation and technical assistance for local, state, and national developers of curriculum and instructional materials. Its members assist in curriculum networking, identifying curriculum search sources, and reviewing any submitted curriculum or printed instructional material. The NCPQVE standards and indicators provide developers with an essential tool to evaluate both new and existing materials for content, instructional strategies, assessment, and equity and diversity considerations. When curriculum developers submit materials to the NCPQVE for formal review, they are assured of a high-quality third-party review and evaluation of materials. The submitted materials may also have the opportunity to progress to a national review, receive awards, and gain valuable exposure via inservice, vocational curriculum networks and organizations, and NCPQVE profiles and newsletters.

The NCPQVE was formed to serve the vocational education field by advancing curriculum design and practice through meaningful research and technical assistance. National use of the NCPQVE standards and the opportunity to apply these standards to a host of instructional materials will help create a positive interface of curriculum design, content, and program use. In the end, that successful interface is critically important to the ultimate beneficiaries of our work: our students.

For more information, contact:
Barbara Dougherty or Margaret Ellibee
at the Center on Education and Work
(800) 446-0399

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