What is academic integration?
Integration means combining separate parts smoothly to improve effectiveness. In CTE, academic integration means combining technical skill development based on industry standards with content knowledge from related academic subjects (English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science or Social Studies). There are many successful models for CTE academic integration; all require a commitment of CTE staff to the importance of integration and the collaborative planning and implementation by teachers of various subjects.
Why academic integration?
Preparing students for success beyond school should not be a choice between developing sound foundational academic knowledge or acquiring technical skills. Students need both! Integrating academics and CTE is one element of a high-quality CTE program.
In 2001 when modifying the student graduation requirements, the New York State Board of Regents revised the policy on CTE to include approved CTE programs. Approved CTE programs, an option in earning a diploma, are required to show evidence of academic integration and may be flexibly offered to allow students to earn academic diploma credits while completing a CTE program.
At the federal level, the Perkins Act places high importance on the integration of academic and CTE content. One of the key purposes is “to promote the development of services and activities that integrate rigorous and challenging academic and career and technical instruction.” There is a requirement on local schools, as they create plans for their Perkins funds, to demonstrate how they will “improve the academic and technical skills of students…through the integration of coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant career and technical education programs…”
Academic Integration Study
During the 2016-17 school year, the CTE Technical Assistance Center of NY undertook a study of the Academic Integration Practices in 13 School Districts and BOCES. The Academic Integration Study study sought to identify the level of integration of academics into CTE programming. Key findings, leading practices and a rubric for assessing academic integration are presented here. Reflect on the academic integration practices in your school, using the CTE and Academic Integration Rubric.
Following are slide decks useful for adapting for staff presentations on the topic of academic Integration
Diploma Credit for Academic Integration
The New York State Education Departments provides in regulation provisions for students to receive diploma credit for academic integration in CTE. These are only available when meeting certain conditions starting with having a CTE-Approved program. These options are referred to as Integrated and Specialized credit. Review this NYSED Integrated and Specialized Academics webpage for information regarding requirements.
Curriculum Maps are an effective planning tool to schedule units of instruction and show linkage to required technical and soft skills and requirements of technical assessments. Curriculum maps are also a document to identify related academic skills. Curriculum Maps are revised by CTE teachers consulting with academic teachers to define appropriate ways to integrate related math, science, reading, writing, speaking, or listening in CTE lessons and projects. The following tips are suggestions for improving academic integration via revision of curriculum maps.
- Plan periodic review and revision to identify additional ways to elevate rigor using academic standards.
- Describe to academic teachers the CTE projects in a unit and brainstorm related academic skills or knowledge which might be included.
- Modify or develop assessments and rubrics to measure academic as well as technical student proficiency
- When seeking academic integrated or specialized diploma credit ensure there is sufficient instructional time and commencement level standards to meet state requirements.
- Be specific in describing how students will apply the academic standard not simply reference the standard or standard reference number
- Seek out technical reading content that is an appropriate reach for each student’s reading level.
Curriculum and Instructional Resources
PLC- Academic Integration - There are two current online sites for professional learning and sharing instructional ideas. The NYS CTE online Professional Learning Community includes copies of previous virtual Sharing and Support sessions and shared documents of lesson ideas. The CareerEd Lounge has three online communities for sharing files, links, and threaded discussion for ELA, Math and Science.
Administrator Lessons: Academic Integration - ACTE has developed four lessons for CTE administrators on the topic of Academic Integration organized around the topics of Collaborate, Orient, Relate, and Enhance. This series was created based on the Common Core State Standards but includes suggestions for leading teachers to work together on integration, regardless of specific academic standards.
CTE Academic and Technical Curriculum Integration to Meet the Common Core - York County School of Technology faculty collaborated to develop and implement STEM-related lessons across math, science, and engineering technology. Wright, Thomas, and Rogers, ACTE Techniques Magazine, Nov/Dec 2014
Biomedical & Health - is a set of integrated, problem-based curriculum units including topics such a Bioethics, Communicable Diseases and Workplace Safety, developed by ConnectED in partnership with the National Consortium on Health Science and Technical Education.
Developed by teachers in the Loveland, CO School District, Contextualized Learning Concepts is an interdisciplinary curriculum covering core mathematics concepts team-taught in the context of hands-on projects. Two programs have been developed, and the teachers offer workshops and curriculum to teams of teachers to replicate. Geometry in Construction is a combination of high school geometry and construction. Algebra in AMPED is a combination of Algebra 1 and Manufacturing Processes, Entrepreneurship, and Design. The NYS CTE TAC has partnered to introduce the curriculum to New York. Contact the CTE TAC staff for further information.
Math T-Charts - Pennsylvania CTE has developed nearly 200 math lessons for various CTE trade programs. T-charts “bridge the gap” between CTE and math and can be used by both math and CTE teachers. This resource consists of three components: a T-chart, a script, and practice problems. Each T-chart demonstrates how a CTE teacher teaches the concept covered by the Math Core Standard and how a math teacher teaches the same concept.
ELA and Literacy Resources
EdWeek (November 2018) How to Make Reading Relevant: Bring Job-Specific Texts Into Class
Reading Strategies - Reading is an essential skill for learning in all subjects. Developing reading proficiency is more than decoding words. Teachers need to use a combination of pre-and post-reading strategies to help students develop understanding. 23 Reading Strategies helps CTE teachers enhance student reading comprehension in CTE instruction. Tips on Reading Specific Text includes suggestions on interpreting graphs and charts.
The Lexile Career Database® ] from Metametrics identifies the reading demands of texts of materials needed for entry into the desired career. The database allows the selection of any of the 16 Career Clusters and specific SOC Job codes to reveal entry-level Lexile measure ranges, national and regional career information, and additional descriptions of the career. Use this convenient information with students to impress upon them the reading level they need for their chosen career.
Literacy Database - The database includes both fiction and non-fiction texts to support literacy within a rigorous CTE program. The database lists many works, including novels, books, short stories, biographies, speeches – even poems and plays linked to specific CTE clusters, reading levels, and grades. All items included have been suggested by educators in the field. The items are a shared resource among educators and are not endorsed by the CTE Technical Assistance Center or the NYSED. If you have suggestions for literature to add to the database, email