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Career and Technical Education Research Networks


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FY Awards


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Expanding the Evidence Base for Career and Technical Education (CTE) – Research Network Lead

Year: 2018
Name of Institution:
American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Goal: Other Goal
Principal Investigator:
Hughes, Katherine
Award Amount: $4,999,998
Award Period: 5 years (9/01/2018 – 8/31/2023)
Award Number: R305N180005


Co-Principal Investigator: Shaun M. Dougherty (Vanderbilt University)

Partners: Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Jobs for the Future (JFF)

Project website:

Role: Lead

Description: A Research Network involves several teams of researchers who are working together to address a critical education problem or issue. The objective is to encourage information sharing, build new knowledge, and assist policymakers and practitioners to strengthen education policies and programs and improve student education outcomes. The specific aims of the FY18 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Network are to increase: 1) the evidence base about the impact of CTE programs and policies on student outcomes, and 2) the pipeline of new CTE researchers.

Purpose: The Network Lead will be responsible for CTE Network administration and coordination, and will carry out research, training, and dissemination activities designed to increase the number and quality of CTE impact evaluations and strengthen the capacity of the field to conduct future CTE research and evaluation.

Network Leadership Activities: The leadership activities of the CTE Research Network Lead comprise the following primary functions:

  • Administration and Coordination: The CTE Network Lead will coordinate communication across Network members to accelerate and strengthen the Network’s accomplishment of its goals, and will coordinate the development of supplementary activities to be carried out by Network members.
  • Research: The CTE Network lead will carry out two research projects:
    • Evaluability Assessment: The CTE Network Lead will conduct an evaluability assessment to identify two to six programs or models that are most ready for rigorous evaluation to advance CTE research.
    • Research Synthesis: The CTE Network Lead will synthesize key findings from the evaluations completed by Network members and other relevant CTE research.
  • Research Training: The CTE Network Lead will help train the next generation of CTE researchers in causal research methods through postdoctoral fellowships; conference sessions; and a summer institute for researchers. The CTE Network will also train state and district CTE policymakers and practitioners to use data and research to inform decision making about CTE and will create online training modules aligned to the needs and experiences of CTE practitioners using data and research.
  • Leadership and Dissemination: The CTE Network Lead will disseminate and promote the Network’s activities, findings, and products. This includes hosting a Network website that will serve as a hub for CTE research and resources; identifying opportunities to communicate about the Network and its activities, including organizing briefings for key stakeholders and presenting at national conferences; and coordinating with national associations and federally funded programs to promote the work of the Network.

Products: The CTE Network Lead will engage in ongoing dissemination activities with other members of the Network to develop products that advance the CTE research field and educate the public about what works in CTE. Products will include the Network website, an evaluability assessment report, a research synthesis, briefings for policymakers and practitioners, and presentations for a range of stakeholders.

Research Teams: CTE Network research team members will be identified by the Institute from among its funded CTE-related grants and invited to join the CTE Network. This page will be updated as members join the Network.


The network includes six member projects from IES-funded CTE research projects with causal impact designs.