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U.S. Department of Education

Staff Report
to the
Senior Department Official
on
Recognition Compliance Issues

RECOMMENDATION PAGE

1.
Agency:   Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education (1976/2016)
                  (The dates provided are the date of initial listing as a recognized agency and the date of the agency’s last grant of recognition.)
 
2.
Action Item:   Compliance Report
 
3.
Scope of Recognition:   State agency for the approval of public postsecondary vocational education.
4.
Date of Advisory Committee Meeting:   December, 2014
 
5.
Staff Recommendation:   Renew the agency's recognition for one year. Grant the agency's request for an expansion of its scope of recognition to include distance education.

Recommended scope of recognition: The approval of public postsecondary vocational education offered at institutions in the State of Oklahoma that are not under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, including the approval of public postsecondary vocational education offered via distance education.
 
6.
Issues or Problems:   None


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 
 

PART I: GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE AGENCY

 
The Oklahoma Board of Career and Technology Education (OBCTE) is recognized for the approval of public postsecondary vocational education programs offered at institutions in the State of Oklahoma that are not under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The OBCTE is vested with the power to govern and establish criteria and procedures for 29 technology center districts encompassing 57 campuses across the state. Approval (accreditation) by the OBCTE enables the technology centers to receive funding under Title IV, as well as under other federal programs related to vocational education.

 
 
Recognition History
 
The OBCTE was first recognized in 1976 and has held continued recognition since that time. The agency was last reviewed at the Fall 2011 meeting of the NACIQI. At that time, it was requested to submit a report on certain compliance issues at the Fall 2013 NACIQI meeting. The agency did submit its required report as scheduled, but formal adoption of some revised processes had not yet occurred due to the recent retirement and replacement of the agency's director, so the agency was granted an extension for good cause. At that time, the agency was requested to submit a second report providing additional information and documentation related to two remaining compliance issues and its request for an expansion of scope to include distance education. That report is the subject of this analysis.


PART II: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

 
§603.24 Criteria for State agencies
The following are the criteria which the Secretary of Education will utilize in designating a State agency as a reliable authority to assess the quality of public postsecondary vocational education in its respective State.
(iii) Delineates the process by which it differentiates among and approves programs of varying levels.

 
In the Fall 2013 staff analysis, the agency was requested to provide documentation of the formal acceptance of its revised distance education standards and processes.

In response to the concerns raised in the 2013 staff analysis, the agency provided the minutes from its January 2014 board meeting demonstrating that its distance education standards were formally adopted by the board, as had been previously scheduled (Ex. January 2014 Board Minutes, p. 4).

ED staff accepts the agency's documentation, and no additional information is requested.

 

(A) to participate on visiting teams,

 
In the Fall 2013 staff analysis, the agency was requested to provide additional information regarding the training of the distance education on-site reviewers who would be using the 2014 revised standards and processes.

In response to the concerns raised in the 2013 staff analysis, the agency provided a copy of its revised accreditation handbook, which clearly specifies that training manuals will be distributed to on-site review team members 30 days prior to on-site reviews. Team chairs are required to provide an orientation session at the start of the on-site evaluation and must address the evaluation process, the evaluation instrument, the rating system, the agency's standards, the role of team members, the report format, and the team's exit interview process (Ex. Revised Accreditation Handbook, p. 6).

ED staff accepts the agency's revised handbook as documentation that on-site review team members, including those reviewing distance education, will be adequately trained in the review process. No additional information is requested.
 

(ii) Requires, as an integral part of the approval and re-approval process, institutional or program self-analysis and on-site reviews by visiting teams, and provides written and consultative guidance to institutions or programs and visiting teams.

 
In the Fall 2013 staff analysis, the agency was requested to provide evidence of the implementation of its revised standard and review processes/procedures related to distance education.

In response to concerns raised in the 2013 staff analysis, the agency provided various documents directly related to the review of distance education programs. A blank copy of the self-study questionnaire that is provided to institutions demonstrates that the agency has tailored its self-study document to distance education (Ex. Distance Education Self-study). Completed self-studies pertaining to distance education were provided for three programs at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center (Exs. Database Technologies, Respiratory Care, and Web Design and Development). A completed self-study was also provided for an additional institution, the Kiamichi Technology Center (Ex. Kiamichi Paramedic).

Although the agency provided documentation of the self-studies prepared by various distance education programs, it failed to provide documentation of the agency's review of these programs and the resulting accreditation decisions regarding these programs. The agency is requested to provide additional documentation of the complete review cycle, including on-site review reports and documentation of agency actions taken in regard to its accreditation of distance education programs. Such documentation is necessary in order to support the agency's request for an expansion of scope to include distance education.

Analyst Remarks to Response:
In the draft staff analysis, the agency was requested to provide additional documentation of the complete review cycle, including on-site review reports and documentation of agency actions taken in regard to its accreditation of distance education programs.

In response to the concerns raised in the draft staff analysis, the agency provided additional documentation, including a copy of the on-site review report from an October 2014 site visit to a paramedic distance education program at one of the state's technology centers (Ex. Kiamichi Accreditation Report). The program was reviewed by four on-site evaluators, and was found to meet all of the agency's standards. The report included an introduction, commendations and strengths, and a section that would have included recommendations if there had been any findings related to the standards, which there were not. The agency also provided copies of documents related to a decision meeting that was held in November 2014 (Exs. Board Agenda and Board Meeting Minutes). The decision meeting exhibits indicate that the distance education program was formally reviewed by the agency's board at its most recent meeting. The program was formally approved at that time.

Staff accepts the agency's additional materials, which demonstrate that it has fully reviewed and approved a distance education program, and no additional materials are requested.
 

(A) Self-analysis shall be a qualitative assessment of the strengths and limitations of the instructional program, including the achievement of institutional or program objectives, and should involve a representative portion of the institution's administrative staff, teaching faculty, students, governing body, and other appropriate constituencies.

 
In the Fall 2013 staff analysis, the agency was requested to provide additional information and documentation related to its revised distance education standards and review processes and procedures.

In response to concerns raised in the 2013 staff analysis, the agency provided documentation of the fact that has implemented its revised review process related to distance education. As noted in the previous section, the agency provided a blank copy of its distance education self-study document, as well as completed self-studies for distance education programs at two of its institutions (see all exhibits).

ED staff accepts the agency's documentation demonstrating that it has implemented its revised review process related to distance education, and no additional information is requested.
 

(vii) Regularly reviews its standards, policies and procedures in order that the evaluative process shall support constructive analysis, emphasize factors of critical importance, and reflect the educational and training needs of the students;

 
In the Fall 2013 staff analysis, the agency was requested to provide documentation of the implementation of its revised standards review process, including information on how feedback will be actively sought from appropriate interest groups.

In response to the concerns raised in the 2013 staff analysis, the agency has revised its standards review process. It states that its advisory committee will meet at least twice a year, and specifies the groups that will be represented on the committee. Meetings will be open to the public, and online feedback related to standards review will be solicited for at least 30 days. Blast emails will be sent to interested parties in an attempt to solicit their feedback on proposed standards revisions.

As documentation, the agency provided a copy of its handbook, which formalizes the standards review process (Ex. Revised Accreditation Handbook p. 9), as well as its list of potential contacts for the blast email to solicit participation in the review process (Ex. Standards Potential Email Blast List).

ED staff accepts the agency's revised standards review process and supporting documentation, and no additional information is requested.
 

(xi) Requires each approved school or program to report on changes instituted to determine continue compliance with standards or regulations;

 
In the Fall 2013 staff analysis, the agency was requested to demonstrate that it has a mechanism for collecting information from its institutions on a periodic basis that documents their continued compliance with the agency's standards.

In response to the 2013 staff analysis, the agency provided an extensive array of documentation that it collects from its institutions on an annual basis. Of particular interest is the Exhibit Connecting Accreditation Standards and Data, which provides a list of the information that each institution must provide in support of each of the agency's standards. The agency also provided a recent accreditation letter showing the agency's approval of career majors (Ex. Tulsa 2014-15 Accreditation Letter).

ED staff accepts the agency's extensive documentation of the information it collects from its institutions on a periodic basis, and no additional information is requested.
 
 

PART III: THIRD PARTY COMMENTS

 
The Department did not receive any written third-party comments regarding this agency.