FR Doc 2010-12802
[Federal Register: May 27, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 102)]
[Notices]               
[Page 29732-29739]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr27my10-44]                        

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Career and Technical Education Program--Promoting Rigorous Career 
and Technical Education Programs of Study

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.051C.

AGENCY: Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Department of 
Education.

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities, requirements, and selection 
criteria.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education 
proposes priorities, requirements, and selection criteria for a program 
promoting rigorous career and technical education programs of study 
(POSs) through the use of ten key components based on the ``Program of 
Study Design Framework'' (Framework). We take this action to promote 
and improve State and local development and implementation of career 
and technical education (CTE) POSs that link secondary and 
postsecondary education, combine academic and career and technical 
education in a structured sequence of courses that progress from broad 
foundation skills to more occupationally specific courses (e.g., the 
States' Career Clusters, initially funded and launched by the 
Department (see http://www.careerclusters.org/index.php), and offer 
students the opportunities to earn postsecondary credits for courses 
taken in high school that lead to a postsecondary credential, 
certificate, or degree.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before June 28, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submit all comments about this notice to Laura Messenger, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 11028, 
Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-7241.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following 
address: laura.messenger@ed.gov. You must include the term ``POS 
Notice'' in the subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Messenger. Telephone: 202-245-
7840 or by e-mail: laura.messenger@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

[[Page 29733]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priorities, requirements, and selection 
criteria, we urge you to identify clearly the specific proposed 
priority, requirement, or selection criterion that each comment 
addresses.
    The Assistant Secretary is also particularly interested in 
receiving comments on the Program of Study (POS) Design Framework set 
forth in this notice. The Framework is available on the Department's 
Perkins Collaborative Resource Network (PCRN) Web site at: 
http://cte.ed.gov/nationalinitiatives/rposdesignframework.cfm. The Assistant 
Secretary also seeks comment on the status of a State's capacity and 
plan to collect employment data as part of a longitudinal data system 
linked to a State's educational data system.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed 
priorities, requirements, and selection criteria. Please let us know of 
any further ways we could reduce potential costs or increase potential 
benefits while preserving the effective and efficient administration of 
the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice in room 11028, 550 12th Street, SW., 
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., 
Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 
holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request, we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The Promoting Rigorous Career and Technical 
Education Programs of Study program is authorized under section 
114(c)(1) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 
2006 (Act). Under this section, the Secretary is authorized to carry 
out research, development, dissemination, evaluation and assessment, 
capacity building, and technical assistance with regard to CTE programs 
under the Act. Through this program, we intend to promote and improve 
State and local development and implementation of CTE POSs that link 
secondary and postsecondary education, combine academic and career and 
technical education in a structured sequence of courses that progress 
from broad foundation skills to more occupationally specific courses, 
offer students the opportunities to earn postsecondary credits for 
courses taken in high school, and lead to a postsecondary credential, 
certificate, or degree.
    General Background:
    To help States and local agencies meet the requirements of section 
122(c)(1)(A) of the Act to provide career and technical programs of 
study, we held the first competition, entitled ``Promoting Rigorous 
Career and Technical Education Programs of Study through Statewide or 
Multi-State Articulation Agreements'' for this program in 2008. The 
proposals in this notice are informed by our experience with that 
competition and administering the six grants that were funded through 
that competition.
    Subsequent to the 2008 competition, in early 2009 and in response 
to requests for assistance in developing and implementing POSs from 
State and local program administrators and national technical 
assistance providers, OVAE reviewed extant literature and case study 
research and developed a draft POS Design Framework. The draft 
Framework identified 10 components that, taken together, would support 
the development and implementation of rigorous and effective POSs. On 
June 11, 2009, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) 
convened a meeting of leading POS experts to gather feedback and input 
on the draft Framework. The experts included representatives from 
organizations such as the Association for Career and Technical 
Education, the National Association of State Directors of Career and 
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Governors 
Association, the National Research Center for Career and Technical 
Education (NRCCTE), the Academy for Educational Development (AED), the 
National Career Pathways Network, the League for Innovation in the 
Community College, and MPR Associates, Inc.
    At the meeting, participants agreed to work collaboratively with 
OVAE to complete a final version of the Framework and disseminate it 
for use by their organizations and by others engaged in POS development 
and implementation. In collaboration with major national associations 
and organizations, OVAE completed the Framework in January 2010. 
NASDCTEc, NRCCTE, AED, and MPR Associates, Inc. are currently using it 
to provide technical assistance to their POS projects with States and 
localities. Most of the proposed priorities, requirements, and 
selection criteria in this notice are based on the Framework.
    Some of the proposals in this notice are consistent with three of 
the four areas the Secretary has identified as key for educational 
reform. The proposed requirement that States and localities adopt 
rigorous college and career readiness standards that define what 
students are expected to know and be able to do to enter and advance in 
college, their careers, or both, is consistent with the Secretary's 
goals in the area of standards and assessments. The proposed 
requirement for innovative and creative instructional approaches that 
enable teachers to integrate academic and technical instruction is 

consistent with the Secretary's goals for teacher effectiveness, as is 
the proposed requirement that projects provide sustained, intensive, 
and focused professional development opportunities so as to ensure that 
teachers have the necessary content knowledge to align and integrate 
curriculum and instruction. The proposed requirement that States and 
localities use well-designed State longitudinal data systems that yield 
valid and reliable data on a variety of secondary, postsecondary, and 
employment outcomes for individual students is consistent with the 
Secretary's goals for improving the capacity of Statewide longitudinal 
data systems.
    The Assistant Secretary plans to make awards under the next POS 
competition for a 4-year project period.
    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 2324(c)(1).
    Proposed Priorities:
    Types of Priorities:
    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority

[[Page 29734]]

(34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets 
the priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet 
the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    This notice contains one proposed priority.

Proposed Competitive Preference Priority--Commitment to the Project

    Background:
    Section 122(c)(1) of the Act requires States to offer CTE POSs, 
which may be adopted by local educational agencies (LEAs) and 
postsecondary institutions as an option to students (and their parents, 
as appropriate), when planning for and completing coursework for career 
and technical content areas. Under section 134(b)(3)(A) of the Act, 
each local recipient of funds must offer the appropriate courses of not 
less than one career and technical program of study described in 
section 122(c)(1)(A). To align project activities with a State's 
ongoing POS efforts and to demonstrate a State's commitment of staff 
and other resources to fully executing the goals of the proposed 
project, the Assistant Secretary is proposing a priority for 
applications that propose to contribute funds from other sources of 
funds to the total cost of the project.
    Proposed Competitive Preference Priority:
    To meet this priority, the applicant must propose a budget that 
describes how the State will contribute 30 percent of the total cost of 
the project. For these purposes, the applicant may use--
    (a) State leadership funds awarded under section 111 of the Act and 
as specified in section 112(a)(1) of the Act;
    (b) Non-Federal contributions including in-kind contributions such 
as use of facilities, equipment, supplies, services, and other 
resources; or
    (c) A combination of State leadership funds and non-Federal 
contributions.
    Proposed Requirements:
    Background:
    Selected Program of Study. Since the Act was reauthorized in 2006, 
States and local recipients have worked to meet the POS requirements of 
section 122(c)(1) of the Act. We believe that the development of the 
Framework will provide significant support for those efforts. The 
Framework reflects the collective thinking of the Department and the 
primary organizations and associations engaged in POS development over 
the past several years, and identifies 10 components that support the 
development and implementation of rigorous and effective POSs. To date, 
POSs have differed widely from State to State. POSs may also differ 
widely from school district to school district within a State, as well 
as from school to school within a district. To ensure the rigor of 
funded POSs and consistency in their design and implementation, we 
propose to require States receiving grant awards under this program to 
implement a POS that is built and sustained with the 10 specific 
components in the Framework.
    We note that in the 2008 competition, we provided funding to help 
States use statewide articulation agreements between secondary 
education and postsecondary institutions as a primary strategy for 
implementing POSs. In the proposed Selected Program of Study 
requirement, we refer to the statewide articulation agreements as 
``Credit Transfer Agreements'' and the use of such agreements is one of 
the 10 components in the Framework. As proposed, credit transfer 
agreements would support the proper alignment of standards, curriculum, 
and instruction across educational levels and promote, to the extent 
possible, the awarding of postsecondary credit for courses taken during 
high school.
    The 2008 competition also emphasized the creation of partnerships 
to ensure the rigor and quality of POSs. Through the experience gained 
from the work of the six projects funded under the 2008 competition, 
the POS efforts underway in other States, and the experience of leading 
POS experts, we have gained a better understanding of the level and 
complexity of the work required for effective POS implementation and of 
the program components that are necessary for the development and 
implementation of rigorous POSs. Accordingly, the Framework includes, 
and we are proposing in this requirement that States create, 
partnerships with education, business, and other key stakeholders.
    Existing Technical Skills Assessments. States currently report on 
the technical skill attainment of CTE students at the secondary and 
postsecondary levels. In some cases, States are using third-party 
industry-recognized assessments to determine technical skill 
attainment. Where such assessments are not available, particularly at 
the secondary level, States have sought to develop their own 
assessments. When the assessments are based on industry standards, they 
may result in the granting of high school credit. When the assessments 
are based on industry standards and developed through collaboration 
between secondary and postsecondary institutions, they may result in 
the granting of postsecondary credit for high school students.
    The Department recognizes that assessment development can be both 
costly and time-consuming.\1\ As a result, given the limited funding 
available under this program and our intent to evaluate the progress of 
students enrolled in a POS, we propose to require States receiving 
grant awards under this program to implement a POS for which valid and 
reliable technical skills assessments (either industry-recognized 
assessments or State-developed or State-approved assessments based on 
industry standards that grant high school or postsecondary credit, or 
both) have been developed.
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    \1\ For example, the Department recently announced, as part of 
its Race to the Top Assessment program, a High School Course 
Assessment program that will support consortia of States in the 
development of new or adapted assessments for high school courses. 
The competition includes a competitive preference priority for 
applications that include a high quality plan to develop, with 
relevant business community participation and support, assessments 
for high school courses that comprise a rigorous course of study in 
career and technical education that is designed to prepare high 
school students for success on technical certification examinations 
or for postsecondary education or employment.
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    Local Implementation. We also propose to require funded States to 
implement the selected POS in at least three LEAs that contain high 
schools, in concert with their postsecondary partners, beginning no 
later than the start of the academic year corresponding to year 2 of 
the grant. The applicant must include a letter of commitment from each 
LEA, expressing its interest in participating in the project and its 
commitment to implement the selected POS as prescribed by the State in 
years 2 through 4 of the grant. If an LEA contains more than one high 
school, it would be required to implement the selected POS in at least 
one of its high schools. To the extent feasible, the LEAs must 
implement the POS in at least one urban, one suburban, and one rural 
community. If an LEA currently does not have all 10 components in 
place, the State applicant must provide an assurance that each 
participating LEA will have all 10 components in place to support the 
selected POS when it is implemented in year 2. To achieve this end, we 
are proposing to require that CTE staff from the funded States provide 
technical assistance to the participating LEAs during the first year of 
the project in order to strengthen weak components or incorporate

[[Page 29735]]

missing components. We also would require CTE staff from the funded 
States to continue to work closely with the participating LEAs 
throughout the project period, and provide technical assistance and 
support to ensure constancy in the implementation of the selected POS 
in the participating LEAs.
    Evaluation. We propose to require each State receiving a grant 
award under this program to conduct an annual evaluation of its project 
by evaluating local implementation of the selected POS and using 
student outcome data on the performance measures listed elsewhere in 
this notice to assess the progress of students enrolled in the selected 
POS. To ensure consistency across the funded States in the use of 
student outcome data, we propose to require funded States to attend a 
Project Evaluation Design meeting in Washington, DC, following receipt 
of their grant awards, to discuss and possibly refine the grantee self-
assessment tools related to the 10 Framework components that are 
developed by the grantees, and to work with OVAE and with each other to 
develop a plan for the States' use of student outcome data to assess 
the progress of students enrolled in the selected POS.
    Capacity of Statewide Longitudinal Data System. Because we expect 
that the primary focus of this program will be to evaluate the progress 
of students enrolled in a POS, we propose to limit eligibility for 
awards to States whose longitudinal data systems have the capacity to 
link and share data among systems housing different types of data. The 
Department recognizes that States are at different stages in developing 
their capacities to link and share necessary information among systems. 
Nevertheless, we propose to fund only States that have the capability 
of collecting longitudinal data on a variety of secondary, 
postsecondary, and employment outcomes for individual students so that 
we may assess the long term outcomes of their participation in a POS.
    Dissemination. The Act requires all States to offer POSs, which may 
be adopted by LEAs and postsecondary institutions as an option to 
students (and their parents, as appropriate) when they plan for and 
complete coursework in career and technical content areas. Each local 
recipient of funds under the Act must offer at least one career and 
technical POS. To assist all States and local recipients in their 
efforts to develop and implement rigorous POSs, we propose to require 
States receiving grant awards under this program to conduct specific 
dissemination activities during the grant period, such as sharing 
project materials via each State's Web site and participating in OVAE-
sponsored POS meetings and presentations.
    Cooperative Agreement. We also plan to make awards under the next 
POS competition under the terms of a cooperative agreement. In order to 
ensure consistency in POS implementation and evaluation across the 
funded States, we believe it is necessary for the Department to 
maintain substantial involvement in the implementation of POS projects 
funded under the next POS program competition and to provide close 
Department oversight of POS project activities. We believe that making 
these awards through cooperative agreements will facilitate that 
involvement and oversight.
    Proposed Requirements:
    The Assistant Secretary proposes the following requirements for 
this program. We may apply one or more of these requirements in any 
year in which this program is in effect.
    Selected Program of Study: Applicants must propose a project to 
implement a State-developed or State-approved POS that is built and 
sustained with the following 10 Framework components:
    (a) Legislation, Resources, and Policies: State and local 
legislation, resources, or administrative policies that promote POS 
development and implementation;
    (b) Partnerships: Ongoing relationships among education, business, 
and other community stakeholders that support POS design, 
implementation, and maintenance;
    (c) Professional Development: Sustained, intensive, and focused 
professional development opportunities for administrators, teachers, 
and faculty that foster POS design, implementation, and maintenance;
    (d) Accountability and Evaluation Systems: Accountability and 
evaluation systems and strategies that gather quantitative and 
qualitative data on both POS components and student outcomes in order 
to inform ongoing efforts to develop and implement POSs and to 
determine their effectiveness;
    (e) College and Career Readiness Standards: POS content standards 
that define what students are expected to know and be able to do to 
enter and advance in college, their careers, or both, and that include 
aligned academic and technical content;
    (f) Course Sequences of Secondary and Postsecondary Courses: Course 
sequences within a POS that help students transition to postsecondary 
education without needing to duplicate classes or enroll in remedial 
courses.
    (g) Credit Transfer Agreements: Formal credit transfer agreements 
among secondary schools and postsecondary institutions;
    (h) Comprehensive Guidance Counseling and Academic Advisory 
Systems: Systems that provide career counseling and academic advisory 
services to help students make informed decisions about which POS to 
pursue;
    (i) Teaching and Learning Strategies: Innovative and creative 
instructional approaches that enable teachers to integrate academic and 
technical instruction and also enable students to apply academic and 
technical learning in their POS coursework; and
    (j) Technical Skills Assessments: Existing valid and reliable 
technical skills assessments that provide ongoing information on the 
extent to which students are attaining the necessary knowledge and 
skills for entry into and advancement in postsecondary education and 
careers in their chosen POS.
    Each of these 10 components of the Framework has unique sub-
components. The sub-components for each of the 10 components are in the 
Proposed Selection Criteria in this notice, under proposed paragraph 
(a)(3), State capacity to implement a rigorous program of study. Each 
State and its participating LEAs must use all the sub-components of the 
10 Framework components that the State deems relevant to the selected 
POS and must explain how it plans to support the selected POS utilizing 
the relevant subcomponents.
    Existing Technical Skills Assessments: Applicants must propose a 
project to implement a State-developed or State-approved POS for which 
valid and reliable technical skills assessments (either third-party 
industry-recognized assessments, or State-developed or State-approved 
technical skills assessments based on industry standards that grant 
high school or postsecondary credit, or both) have been developed.
    Local Implementation: Applicants must propose a project to 
implement the selected POS in at least three LEAs that contain high 
schools, in concert with each LEA's postsecondary partners. If a 
participating LEA contains more than one high school, the LEA must 
implement the selected POS in at least one of its high schools. To the 
extent feasible, participating LEAs must implement the POS in at least 
one urban, one suburban, and one rural community. To be eligible for 
funding an applicant will be required to

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demonstrate that the LEAs chosen for participation in the POS project 
have the capacity to have all 10 Framework components in place by the 
beginning of year 2 of the project. The applicant must include a letter 
of commitment from each LEA, expressing its interest in participating 
in the project and its commitment to implement the selected POS as 
prescribed by the State in years 2 through 4 of the grant and to 
maintain constancy in the implementation of the selected POS. During 
year 1 of the grant, CTE staff from the funded States must provide 
technical assistance to their participating LEAs in order to strengthen 
weak components or incorporate missing components, so that all 10 
components are in place to support the POS when it is implemented at 
the LEA level. The participating LEAs must implement the selected POS 
during years 2 through 4 of the grant, beginning at the start of the 
academic year corresponding to year 2 of the grant. The applicant must 
include a plan that describes how CTE State staff will continue to work 
closely with the LEAs throughout the project period, and provide 
technical assistance and support to ensure constancy in the 
implementation of the selected POS in the participating LEAs.
    Evaluation: Applicants must propose to conduct an annual evaluation 
of the project to assess the constancy of the implementation of the 
selected POS in the participating LEAs and the effectiveness of each of 
the 10 components. To ensure consistency of implementation across the 
selected LEAs, CTE staff from the funded States must use a self-
assessment instrument based on the 10 components as part of its project 
evaluation.
    Applicants must also use student outcome data to assess the 
progress of students enrolled in the selected POS. To ensure 
consistency across the funded States, State staff must attend a POS 
Evaluation Design meeting in Washington, DC, following the receipt of 
the grant award, to discuss and possibly refine the grantee self-
assessment tools related to the 10 Framework components that are 
developed by the grantees, and to work with OVAE and with each other to 
develop a plan for the States' use of student outcome data to assess 
the progress of students enrolled in the selected POS. This meeting 
will address evaluation and data collection issues, such as student 
definitions, the number and method of selection of students to be 
followed, strategies for comparing outcomes for students who 
participate in the POS to other students who do not, the identification 
of potential comparison groups through the States' longitudinal data 
systems, and timing of reporting. After the meeting, we will include 
the agreed-upon plan for the States' use of the student outcome data as 
an addendum to each grantee's cooperative agreement.
    The State must also collect and report data annually on the 
following performance measures, which are based on the indicators of 
performance required under section 113(b) (State Performance Measures) 
and section 203(e) (Tech Prep Indicators of Performance and 
Accountability) of the Act:
    (a) Secondary school completion. The percentage of secondary 
students participating in the POS supported by the grant award who earn 
a high school diploma.
    (b) Technical skills attainment. The percentage of secondary 
students participating in the POS supported by the grant award who 
attain technical skills.
    (c) Earned postsecondary credit during high school. The percentage 
of secondary students participating in the POS supported by the grant 
award who earn postsecondary credit.
    (d) Enrollment in postsecondary education. The percentage of 
secondary students participating in the POS supported by the grant 
award who enroll in postsecondary education by the fall following high 
school graduation.
    (e) Enrollment in postsecondary education in a field or major 
related to the secondary POS. The percentage of secondary students 
participating in the POS supported by the grant award who enroll in a 
postsecondary education program in a field or major related to the 
participant's secondary POS.
    (f) Need for developmental course work in postsecondary education. 
The percentage of secondary students participating in the POS supported 
by the grant award who enroll in one or more postsecondary education 
developmental courses.
    (g) Postsecondary credential, certificate, or diploma attainment. 
The percentage of secondary students participating in the POS supported 
by the grant award who attain an industry-recognized credential, 
certificate, or associate's degree, within two years following 
enrollment in postsecondary education.
    Capacity of Statewide Longitudinal Data System: Applicants must 
propose the use of a longitudinal data system that has the capacity to 
link and share data among systems housing different types of data. The 
longitudinal data system must contain, at a minimum, the elements 
listed below. These elements are consistent with section 6401(e)(2)(D) 
of the America Competes Act (Pub. L. 110-69):
    (a) Statewide unique student identifiers;
    (b) Student-level enrollment data;
    (c) Student-level course completion (transcript) data;
    (d) The ability to match student-level secondary and postsecondary 
data;
    (e) The ability to link student-level data to employment outcome 
data, such as Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records; and
    (f) A State data audit plan to verify that the education data are 
valid and reliable.

Applicants also must ensure (and include an assurance in their 
applications) that their use of data will be consistent with the 
requirements and protections contained in the Family Educational Rights 
and Privacy Act (FERPA).
    Dissemination: Applicants must propose to implement a dissemination 
plan for the project. The plan must include the development and 
maintenance of a project Web page for posting project materials, such 
as: Materials describing the State's process for approving POSs 
submitted by local recipients of funds; curricula developed for the 
selected POS; technical assistance materials provided to the 
participating LEAs and to other local recipients of funds, if 
applicable; professional development materials; materials describing 
evaluation results, including performance data on the required 
performance measures based on the indicators of performance; and other 
materials containing practical information that would be useful to 
other States in their efforts to implement and evaluate POSs. 
Applicants must also participate in POS activities sponsored by the 
Department, such as annual POS grantee meetings in which grantees 
describe the progress of their projects and discuss common issues, 
strategies, and models of best practices; OVAE/POS grantee 
presentations at the States' Annual National Career Clusters 
Institutes; OVAE/POS grantee presentations at annual NASDCTEc meetings; 
and presentations at OVAE-sponsored data quality meetings.
    Cooperative Agreement: We plan to make each award to grantees under 
this program under the terms of a cooperative agreement. We expect to 
work closely with the funded States to maintain substantial involvement 
in project implementation, and to provide oversight on project 
activities by working collaboratively to develop a

[[Page 29737]]

plan for the use of student outcome data, reviewing and approving 
project activities, reviewing and approving one stage of work before 
the grantee can begin a subsequent stage during the project period, and 
halting an activity if it is not consistent with the program 
requirements.
    Proposed Selection Criteria:
    Background:
    The first competition under the POS program was held in 2008. Since 
then, we have gained a better understanding of the level and complexity 
of the work required for effective POS implementation and of the 
program components that are necessary to implement rigorous POSs. The 
selection criteria proposed in this notice emphasize the implementation 
of POSs that are built and sustained with the 10 specific Framework 
components and the collection of valid and reliable longitudinal data, 
to ensure consistency across funded projects in the implementation and 
evaluation of POSs.
    Proposed Selection Criteria:
    The Assistant Secretary proposes the following selection criteria 
for evaluating an application under a POS competition. We may apply one 
or more of these criteria in any year in which we hold a competition 
under this program. In a notice inviting applications, in the 
application package, or in both, we will announce the maximum possible 
points assigned to each criterion.
    (a) State capacity to implement a rigorous program of study: In 
determining the applicant's capacity to implement a rigorous POS, we 
review each application to determine the extent to which:
    (1) The applicant proposes to build on existing State initiatives 
and partnerships in implementing the proposed project.
    (2) The applicant selects a POS that will provide training leading 
to high-growth, high-demand, or high-wage occupations as determined 
through analysis of the national, State, or local labor market.
    (3) The applicant provides evidence that it has selected a State-
developed or State-approved POS that is built and sustained with the 
following 10 Framework components; that it has identified which of the 
sub-components from among those listed under each component are 
relevant to the selected POS; and that it plans to use those relevant 
sub-components in its POS and explains how it proposes to do so.
    (i) State and local legislation, resources, or administrative 
policies that promote POS development and implementation, such as--
    (A) The allocation of State or local funding (and other non-Federal 
resources) designed to promote POS development and long-term 
sustainability;
    (B) The use of established, formal procedures for the design, 
implementation, and continuous improvement of POSs;
    (C) Adherence to policies that ensure opportunities for any 
interested secondary student to participate in a POS; and
    (D) The use of individual graduation or career plans for 
participating students.
    (ii) Ongoing relationships among education, business, and other 
community stakeholders that support POS design, implementation, and 
maintenance, such as by--
    (A) Using written memoranda that specify the roles and 
responsibilities of partnership members;
    (B) Conducting ongoing analyses of economic and workforce trends to 
identify POSs that should be created, expanded, or, if appropriate, 
discontinued;
    (C) Linking POS development to existing initiatives that promote 
workforce and economic development; and
    (D) Identifying, validating, and updating technical and workforce 
readiness skills to be taught within POSs.
    (iii) Sustained, intensive, and focused professional development 
opportunities for administrators, teachers, and faculty that foster POS 
design, implementation, and maintenance, and that--
    (A) Support the alignment of academic and technical curriculum 
within the POS from grade to grade (within grades 9 through 12) and 
from secondary to postsecondary education;
    (B) Support the development of integrated academic and CTE 
curriculum and instruction within the POS;
    (C) Ensure that teachers and faculty have the necessary content 
knowledge to align and integrate curriculum and instruction within the 
POS; and
    (D) Foster innovative teaching and learning strategies within the 
POS.
    (iv) Accountability and evaluation systems and strategies that 
gather quantitative and qualitative data on both POS components and 
student outcomes to inform ongoing efforts to develop and implement 
POSs and to determine their effectiveness, and that--
    (A) Yield valid and reliable data on key student outcomes 
(indicators of performance) referenced in the Act and other relevant 
Federal and State legislation; and
    (B) Provide timely data to inform ongoing efforts to develop, 
implement, evaluate, and improve the effectiveness of POSs.
    (v) POS content standards that define what students are expected to 
know and be able to do to enter and advance in college, their careers, 
or both, and that include aligned academic and technical content, and 
that--
    (A) Are developed and continually validated in collaboration with 
secondary, postsecondary, and industry partners;
    (B) Incorporate essential knowledge and skills that students must 
master regardless of their chosen career area or POS;
    (C) Provide the same rigorous knowledge and skills in English-
language arts and mathematics that employers and colleges expect of 
high school graduates; and
    (D) To the extent practicable, are internationally benchmarked so 
that students are prepared to succeed in a global economy.
    (vi) Course sequences within a POS that help ensure students' 
transition to postsecondary education without needing to duplicate 
classes or enroll in remedial courses, as evidenced by--
    (A) Course sequence plans that map out recommended academic and 
career and technical courses for the POS;
    (B) Course sequence plans that begin with introductory courses at 
the secondary level by teaching broad foundational knowledge and skills 
common across all POSs and then progress to more occupationally 
specific courses at the postsecondary level that provide the knowledge 
and skills required for entry into and advancement in the selected POS; 
and
    (C) Opportunities for students to earn postsecondary credit for 
coursework taken during high school.
    (vii) Formal credit transfer agreements among secondary schools and 
postsecondary institutions that--
    (A) Provide a systematic, seamless process for students to earn 
college credit for postsecondary courses taken in high school, transfer 
high school credit to any two- or four-year institution in the State 
that offers the POS, and transfer credit earned at a two-year college 
to any other two- or four-year institution in the State that offers the 
POS;
    (B) Record college credit earned by high school students on their 
high school transcripts at the time the credit is earned so that they 
can transfer seamlessly into the college portion of the POS without the 
need for additional paperwork or petitioning for credit; and

[[Page 29738]]

    (C) Describe the expectations and requirements for teacher and 
faculty qualifications, course prerequisites, postsecondary entry 
requirements, location of courses, tuition reimbursement, and the 
credit transfer process.
    (viii) Comprehensive guidance counseling and academic advisory 
systems that provide career counseling and academic advisory services 
to help students make informed decisions about which POS to pursue and 
that--
    (A) Are based on State or local guidance and counseling standards, 
such as the National Career Development Guidelines;
    (B) Ensure that guidance counselors and academic advisors have 
access to up-to-date information about POS offerings to aid students in 
their decision-making;
    (C) Offer information and tools to help students learn about 
postsecondary education and career options, including about the 
prerequisites for particular POSs;
    (D) Provide resources for students to identify career interests and 
aptitudes and to select an appropriate POS;
    (E) Provide information and resources for parents, including 
workshops on college and financial aid applications, on helping their 
children prepare for college and careers; and
    (F) Provide Web-based resources and tools for obtaining student 
financial assistance.
    (ix) Innovative and creative instructional approaches that enable 
teachers to integrate academic and technical instruction and students 
to apply academic and technical learning in their POS coursework, as 
evidenced by--
    (A) Interdisciplinary teaching teams of academic and career and 
technical secondary teachers or postsecondary faculty;
    (B) The use of contextualized work-based, project-based, and 
problem-based learning approaches; and
    (C) The use of teaching strategies that foster team-building, 
critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.
    (x) Existing Valid and reliable technical skills assessments that 
provide ongoing information on the extent to which students are 
attaining the necessary knowledge and skills for entry into and 
advancement in postsecondary education and careers in their chosen POS 
and that--
    (A) Are either third-party assessments recognized by industry or 
are technical skills assessments developed or approved by the State 
that are based on industry standards;
    (B) Measure student attainment of technical skill proficiencies at 
multiple points during a POS;
    (C) Incorporate, to the greatest extent possible, performance-based 
assessment items through which students must demonstrate the 
application of their knowledge and skills; and
    (D) Result in the awarding of secondary credit, postsecondary 
credit, or special designation on a student's high school diploma.
    (b) Capacity of the State's longitudinal data system: In 
determining the State's capacity to collect longitudinal data on a 
variety of secondary, postsecondary, and employment outcomes for 
individual students in order to assess the progress of students 
enrolled in the selected POS, we review each application to determine 
the extent to which:
    (1) The State's longitudinal data system contains, at a minimum, 
the following elements--
    (i) Statewide unique student identifiers;
    (ii) Student-level enrollment data;
    (iii) Student-level course completion (transcript) data;
    (iv) The ability to match student-level secondary and postsecondary 
data;
    (v) The ability to link student-level data with employment outcome 
data, such as Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records; and
    (vi) A State data audit plan to verify that the education data are 
valid and reliable.
    (2) The applicant provides evidence that project staff from the 
funded States will be able to work cooperatively with State data 
specialists and to access the student outcome data needed to meet 
annual evaluation and reporting requirements for the POS project.
    (c) Local implementation plan:
    In determining the quality of the plan for local implementation of 
the selected POS, we review each application to determine the extent to 
which--
    (1) The applicant identifies each of the LEAs it has selected for 
local implementation of the POS and provides evidence of each LEA's 
capacity to implement the selected POS and the 10 components, as well 
as the estimated number of students who would participate in the POS in 
years 2 through 4 of the grant, by grade level.
    (2) The participating LEAs represent urban, suburban, and rural 
communities; and
    (3) The applicant includes a letter of commitment from each LEA, 
expressing its interest in participating in the project and its 
commitment to implementing the selected POS as prescribed by the State 
in years 2 through 4 of the grant and to maintain constancy in the 
implementation of the selected POS.
    (4) In the case of LEAs that do not have all 10 components in place 
at the start of the project, the applicant outlines the specific 
actions it will take to ensure that weak or missing components are 
strengthened or created so that all 10 components are in place and the 
LEA is ready to implement the POS by the beginning of the academic year 
corresponding to year 2 of the grant.
    (5) The applicant outlines a plan to provide ongoing oversight and 
technical assistance to the participating LEAs throughout the project 
period, to ensure constancy in the implementation of the selected POS 
across the participating LEAs.
    (d) Project management. In determining the quality of the 
management plan for the proposed project, we review each application to 
determine the extent to which--
    (1) The management plan incorporates, at a minimum, each of the 
proposed requirements included in this notice, and identifies specific 
and measurable objectives and tasks to be undertaken to accomplish each 
project activity;
    (2) The management plan assigns responsibility for the 
accomplishment of project tasks to specific partners or project 
personnel and provides timelines that will result in the timely 
completion of all required project activities within each phase of the 
project;
    (3) The Project Director and other key personnel clearly have the 
professional qualifications and experience necessary to implement their 
assigned project tasks; and
    (4) The time commitments of the Project Director, key personnel, 
and partners are appropriate to the tasks assigned.
    (e) Adequacy of resources. In determining the adequacy of resources 
for the proposed project, we consider the following factors:
    (1) The adequacy of support to be provided (i.e., facilities, 
equipment, supplies, or other resources) by participating agencies and 
institutions at the State and local levels.
    (2) Whether the budget is appropriate and the costs are reasonable 
in relation to the objectives and design of the proposed project.
    (f) Evaluation: In determining the quality of the proposed project 
evaluation, we review each application to determine the extent to 
which--
    (1) The proposed project evaluation is feasible and appropriate for 
evaluating the constancy of the implementation of

[[Page 29739]]

the selected POS by the participating LEAs in years 2 through 4 of the 
grant.
    (2) The proposed evaluation is feasible and appropriate for 
evaluating the effectiveness of each of the 10 components in each LEA.
    (3) The proposed evaluation will be conducted by individuals or 
entities that possess the necessary background and expertise in project 
evaluation.
    (4) The applicant expresses its commitment to participate in the 
Department's Evaluation Design Meeting and has included suggestions 
regarding the use of student outcome data that it could access through 
the State's longitudinal data system to assess the progress of students 
enrolled in the POS.
    We will announce the final priorities, requirements, and selection 
criteria in a notice in the Federal Register. We will determine the 
final priorities, requirements, and selection criteria after 
considering responses to this notice and other information available to 
the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing 
additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection 
criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note:  This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use one or more of these priorities, 
requirements, and selection criteria, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this proposed regulatory 
action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this proposed regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the proposed priorities, requirements, and 
selection criteria justify the costs. This action would provide 
additional resources to States to help them implement an existing 
statutory requirement under the Act, the implementation of programs of 
study at the State and local levels.
    We have determined, also, that this proposed regulatory action does 
not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the 
objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental 
partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies 
on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination 
and review of proposed Federal financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the program contact 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister. To 
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
this site.

    Note:  The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.


Brenda Dann-Messier,
Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education.
[FR Doc. 2010-12802 Filed 5-26-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P