State Board Approves Historic Vocational Education Standard- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

State Board Approves Historic Vocational Education Standard

MALDEN - High school students in the Class of 2010 who are enrolled in vocational technical education programs and who demonstrate proficiency in their chosen field will be the first eligible to receive the state’s new Certificate of Occupational Proficiency.

The Board of Education on Tuesday approved amendments to the state’s Vocational Technical Education Regulations, and in doing so adopted the guidelines under which students would qualify for the new Certificate.

This Certificate represents the more advanced level of knowledge and skills needed for employment and further education in vocational occupations. Students who meet the requirements will receive the new Certificate in addition to a traditional high school diploma. The Certificate will not be a requirement for graduation.

“This brings the real world into our vocational technical schools, and represents the true integration of academic and technical skills,” said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. “By encouraging students to demonstrate their academic knowledge in an applied technical setting, we can ensure that they leave our schools better prepared to compete in today’s competitive job market.”

Ken Rocke, superintendent of the Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton agreed.

“We’ve been waiting for this for many years,” he said. “This will put a tool in our hands that will prove to the public, employers and potential students that this system gives students real world results that are important in terms of getting high paying jobs.”

To qualify for the certificate, students will be required to meet prerequisites that include completing a portfolio to demonstrate what they have learned, earning a safety credential, and developing a career plan and resume.

In order to actually receive the Certificate, students who qualify will be required to pass the English and Math MCAS exams, meet their school’s graduation requirements, and pass both a written and performance test for the Certificate.

The new exams will require students to actually demonstrate the work skills they have learned. For example, a culinary student will need to plan a menu and prepare the meal according to specifications outlined in the assessment.

These tests are still under development, but will be based on the 43 Vocational Technical Education Frameworks. The Frameworks, like the state’s other curriculum frameworks, set rigorous standards for programs of study. Educators and representatives of business, industry, occupational licensing boards, registered apprenticeship programs and higher education developed the frameworks and are assisting in the development of the new tests. The Department will update the frameworks as needed to reflect changing business and industry standards.

For more information on the Certificate of Occupational Proficiency, look online at

Last Updated: June 27, 2006

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