An Examination of the Relationship Between SkillsUSA Student Contest Preparation and Academics

Mark D. Threeton , Cynthia Pellock


Vocational Student Organizations (VSOs), now termed Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) have been an integral component of Career and Technical Education (CTE) since the passage of theSmith-Hughes Act of 1917(Alfeld et al., 2007;Threeton & Pellock, 2008). While theGeorge-Barden Act of 1946was the first piece of federal legislation to specifically mention VSOs, theSmith-Hughes Act of 1917allocated funding for vocational teachers whose duties included advising and supervising these organizations (Hale, 1990). Over the last 92 years the scope of CTE has dramatically changed, but the integral relationship between CTE and CTSOs remains. A significant development and current federal priority includes strengthening the academic skills of CTE students by integrating academic instruction (Walter & Gray, 2002). TheCarl D. Perkins CTE Improvement Act of 2006names CTSOs as an integral partner of CTE programs in integrating academics and technical standards. While the focus of this paper is on the relationship between CTSO student contest preparation and academics, it may be extremely difficult to comprehend without a brief summary of significant CTE legislation, which has led to increased pressure to integrate academics within career and technical instruction.


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ISSN: 1531-4952