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When do the provisions of Act 6 go into effect?
Unless further legislative action is taken,
beginning with the graduating class of 2021, CTE concentrators may take
advantage of the graduation pathways set forth in Act 6.
Does Act 6 excuse CTE concentrators from taking the Keystone Exams?
No. All states are required to administer
statewide high school assessments in math, English language arts and
science for the purposes of federal accountability. The Keystone Exams
are Pennsylvania's statewide high school assessments, and Act 6 does not
change assessment participation requirements for any students. All
students, including students enrolled in CTE programs are required to
take the Algebra I, Literature and Biology Keystone Exams. Act 6
decouples these exams from the statewide graduation requirement for CTE
Does successful completion of the
graduation pathways set forth in Act 6 satisfy statewide graduation
requirements, regardless of proficiency on all three Keystone Exams or
corresponding Project Based Assessments (PBA)?
Yes, although all students are required to
take the Algebra I, Literature, and Biology Keystone Exams for purposes
of federal accountability and reporting, CTE concentrators who
successfully complete the graduation pathways set forth in Act 6 are
deemed to have achieved statewide graduation requirements. However, all
students must also satisfy the graduation requirements adopted by the
Local Education Agency's (LEA) governing board in order to graduate.
Who is a CTE concentrator?
Act 6 defines a CTE concentrator as a student
who, by the end of a reporting year, will be reported as successfully
completing at least 50 percent of the minimum technical instructional
hours required under 22 Pa. Code Ch. 339 (relating to vocational
education). The student must be enrolled in a PDE-approved CTE program
to be considered a CTE concentrator.
and 2-year programs that provide a minimum total of 720 hours of
vocational program instruction, a CTE student achieves concentrator
status after completing 360 hours of vocational program instruction.
Most students enrolled in a 1-year program should reach concentrator
status during the middle of their senior year. Most students in a 2-year
program should reach concentrator status at the end of their junior
For a 3-year program that provides a
minimum of 1,080 hours of vocational program instruction, a CTE student
achieves concentrator status after completing 540 hours of vocational
program instruction. Most students enrolled in a 3-year program should
reach concentrator status at the middle of their junior year.
a 4-year program that provides a minimum of 1,320 hours of vocational
program instruction, a CTE student achieves concentrator status after
completing 660 hours of vocational program instruction. Most students
enrolled in a 4-year program should reach concentrator status at the end
of the sophomore year.
Often, it cannot be determined that a
student is a CTE concentrator until late in high school. Given that
context, do the supplemental instruction, retesting, and project-based
assessment requirements found in Chapter 4 apply to students in CTE
programs who may be on track to be a CTE concentrator but have not yet
been identified as such?
It is required that vocational education be
made available to all students in a high school program and students
should not be denied enrollment in a CTE program based solely on reasons
related to academic preparation. Accordingly, it is strongly
recommended that students who are on a pathway to becoming a CTE
concentrator should receive academic coursework and assessments
consistent with the students' career goals. Students should not be
removed from CTE programs for purposes of supplemental instruction as
this may impede their ability to become a CTE concentrator.
All remediation efforts (e.g.,
supplemental instruction, retesting, participation in the project-based
assessment support) required under 22 Pa. Code Chapter 4 remain
applicable to all students. These requirements in no way mandate
intrusion into CTE instructional time and LEA's are strongly encouraged
to allow students every opportunity including all available
instructional time to gain competence in their CTE concentration area
and "demonstrate a high likelihood of success on an approved
industry-based competency assessment." Therefore, the need for
remediation should not serve as rational for denying access to a CTE
program. Further, it is recommended that LEAs strongly consider waiting
to administer the PBA to a student enrolled in a CTE program until the
student is in 12th grade, so the student has every
opportunity to "demonstrate a high likelihood of success on an approved
industry-based competency assessment." If the student is a CTE
concentrator who can satisfy the graduation pathways, the PBA does not
need to be administered to the student.
Who establishes grade-based
requirements for academic content areas related to each Keystone Exam on
which a CTE concentrator was not proficient?
Each LEA determines the minimum grade requirement for each course related to the academic content area.
What qualifies as an "industry-based competency certification"?
What qualifies as an "approved industry-based competency assessment"?
The industry-based competency assessments to
which the law refers are NOCTI exams, NIMS assessments or other
industry-based competency assessments that may be identified by the
Secretary of Education and approved by the State Board of Education.
How are "demonstrates a high
likelihood of success on an approved industry-based competency
assessment" and "readiness for continued meaningful engagement" defined?
LEAs, via a chief school administrator, in
consultation with a CTC director or a principal of a comprehensive high
school (whichever is applicable), must make individual determinations
related to each student, by the end of 11th grade or if the student is enrolled in a one-year program the determination should be made as soon as possible during the 12th
grade year. LEAs should consider a student's performance on benchmark
assessments, course grades and other factors consistent with the
student's goals and career plan.
What is PDE's role in determining whether LEAs appropriately implement Act 6?
Each LEA determines whether its students,
including CTE concentrators, have satisfied all graduation requirements;
PDE plays no role in that determination. However, LEA records related
to each student are subject to review by auditors, who may review
whether LEAs are properly implementing the laws related to graduation
Does Act 6 affect PIMS reporting related to graduation data?
No. Consistent with past practice, LEAs retain
individual student records to determine which students will graduate
and report in PIMS each student's graduation status.