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ERIC Number: ED555237
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Availability of Data on Noncredit Education and Postsecondary Certifications: An Analysis of Selected State-Level Data Systems
Sykes, Andrea R.; Szuplat, Mary A.; Decker, Cynthia G.
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, US Department of Education
Federal policymakers have interest in three specific areas of postsecondary career and technical education (CTE): associate degrees and certificates awarded in CTE, skills and training obtained through noncredit courses, and industry-recognized certifications. Research and data are readily available on students earning degrees and certificates in CTE and entering the workforce; however, little research exists on CTE students enrolled in noncredit courses at public colleges and universities or earning industry-recognized certifications. To better understand what data might be available to answer key policy questions on students' access to and outcomes following participation in noncredit CTE programs, this study reviewed data systems in 29 states. Each state's data system was reviewed to identify (1) data elements for noncredit education, (2) ways that states track outcomes for noncredit students, (3) whether noncredit data elements are incorporated into state longitudinal databases, and (4) the availability of certification data. The report concludes that data collections on students who enroll in noncredit education at public colleges and universities are still in the nascent stages. Most states that collect data on noncredit instructional activity do so in a limited manner, allowing only for headcounts of students and, for several states, a more detailed description of the characteristics of these students. However, comparing student enrollment across states is problematic because each state collects data differently and defines noncredit workforce education in a different way, making it challenging to draw conclusions about the extent to which students are enrolled in noncredit workforce education nationwide. Understanding the prevalence of earning industry-recognized credentials is also stymied by a lack of access to data. Recent federal efforts to collect data on certifications held by the adult population will provide important insights into the extent to which adults have these credentials. Having data on the number of adults who have earned certifications and what type of certifications they earned will be an important step in better understanding this pathway to career education. The following are appended: (1) Methodology; (2) Noncredit Data Elements by State; and (3) Comparison of Noncredit and Credit-Based Enrollment in Selected States. A bibliography is included.
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, US Department of Education. Tel: 877-433-7827; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Education (ED), Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE); RTI International
Identifiers - Location: Alaska; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Illinois; Iowa; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; New Hampshire; New Jersey; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; South Dakota; Tennessee; Utah; Washington; Wyoming
Grant or Contract Numbers: ED-VAE-12-C0051