CTE Terms and Acronyms


Early Postsecondary Opportunities

Opportunities for students to earn postsecondary credit while in high school. This can be dual credit, dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or Cambridge.


Memorandum of Understanding

a document used to define and document


Tennessee College of Applied Technology

27 centers across Tennessee that provide technical skills and professional training in postsecondary education and trade


Work-Based Learning

a proactive approach to bridging the gap between high school and high- demand, high-skill careers in Tennessee. Students build on classroom-based instruction to develop employability skills that prepare them for success in postsecondary education and future careers. Through experiences like internships, apprenticeships, and cooperative education (co-op), juniors or seniors (16


Workforce Investment Act

provides the framework for a unique national workforce preparation and employment system designed to meet both the needs of the nation’s businesses and the needs of job seekers and those who want to further their careers.


cooperative written agreement between the high school and a postsecondary school through which students may be eligible to receive postsecondary credit while in high school. Articulation agreements usually exist between individual postsecondary schools and secondary schools, or school systems; provisions vary with the individual agreements.

Career Cluster

A Career Cluster is a distinct grouping of occupations and industries based on the knowledge and skills they require. Career Clusters are designed to provide students with relevant learning experiences by linking school-based learning with the knowledge and skills required for success in the workplace. Each of the 16 nationally- recognized Career Clusters is comprised of one or more Program of Study (sequence of related courses) that seeks to support students’ successful transition from secondary to postsecondary education and careers.

Concentrator a student who has completed at least three credits in a program of study or 3 credits within a career cluster.

Dual Credit

There are two types of dual credit courses in Tennessee:

Local dual credit: High school course aligned to a postsecondary course and taught at the high school by high school faculty for high school credit. Students are able to receive postsecondary credit by successfully completing the course and passing an assessment developed and/or recognized by the granting postsecondary institution. Statewide dual credit: High school course with accompanying challenge exam created by Tennessee secondary and postsecondary faculty. Students who meet or exceed the established cut score set for the exam earn credits that can be applied to any public postsecondary institution in Tennessee.

Dual Enrollment

A dual enrollment course is a postsecondary course, taught either at the postsecondary institution or at the high school, by the postsecondary faculty (may be credentialed adjunct faculty). Upon successful completion of the course, students are able to earn postsecondary and secondary credit simultaneously. Students in these courses are enrolled at the postsecondary institution and pay tuition and fees associated with the course.

High Demand

career clusters of occupations that have the following characteristics: growth rate for the cluster in the LWIA region is positive; for all occupations in the cluster, the ratio of program completers (supply) to the number of annual average openings for the occupations (demand) is no more than 1.5

High Skill

occupations which require long term training and lead to a certificate, diploma, apprenticeship or degree

High Wage

occupations with wages 20% greater that the median

Industry Certification

a designation earned to assure qualification to perform a job or task, regulated by states in partnership with industry (ASE, NATEF, HVAC, etc...)


Program of Study

A CTE Program of Study (POS) is a comprehensive, structured approach for delivering academic and career and technical education to prepare students for postsecondary education and career success (U.S. Department of Education, http://www.careertech.org/career-clusters/glance/programs-study.html). In Tennessee, a CTE Program of Study is a sequence of three or more courses that build on each other toward a specific career pathway. Each Program of Study is housed within a specific Career Cluster, but may include courses from other subjects (general education, other career clusters, etc.).

Project Based Learning

a teaching and learning model that focuses on student-centered learning; teachers develop engaging learning experiences