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Office of College, Career and Technical Education

Designing Secondary Education Experience

Designing a secondary education that serves every student begins with ensuring all students have a strong foundation that is based in providing each student with the supports necessary to gain the foundational college and career readiness skills of Math, English, and Science proficiency in relevant, engaging learning experiences, developing and testing a plan that connects their learning to their interests and goals (MyCAP), and ensuring students are taking coursework that allows for an authentic choice to pursue four year college degree post-graduation (MassCore).

Graduation Requirements. Competency Determination & Educational Proficiency Plan. CCTE provides support, data resources, and advises on policy related to the minimum demonstrations of proficiency for Massachusetts High School Graduates.

MassCore. CCTE provides support and resources for schools to adopt a course taking strategy that ensures students graduate with the requirements to pursue a four-year degree at a Massachusetts public postsecondary institution.

Competency Based Practices. DESE CCTE has supported districts with a pilot of rethinking their competency-based practices including grading and assessment systems. Competency based practices support students in making meaning of their learning through relevant, real-world experiences.

MyCAP (My Career & Academic Plan). CCTE supports districts to prepare students for college, career and civic readiness. The MyCAP process engages grades 6-12 students in authentic postsecondary planning through a continuum of learning focused on the individual student's interests, skills and talents.

Pathways Strategy. A pathways strategy ensures that students have access to coursework that prepares them for life after graduation. Schools should have a pathways strategy that informs the types of programs and coursework that is offered to students.

Advanced Coursework. CCTE supports schools in expanding access to advanced coursework. In September 2020 DESE was awarded a five-year grant totaling $9,127,691 from the U.S. Education Department (ED), through the Expanding Access to Well-Rounded Courses Demonstration Grants Program. With this funding, and via a partnership with VHS Learning, we are establishing the STEM Advanced Placement Access Expansion Opportunity (SAPAO). SAPAO is a statewide initiative to increase the capacity of schools to offer advanced coursework that will equip students with the skills and competencies they need to pursue postsecondary education and, ultimately, go on to STEM professions vital to the Massachusetts economy.

Last Updated: April 24, 2024

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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