National Consortium for Health Science Education, What Is It?


Some of you have asked “What is the National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE)?” or “Who is NCHSE?”. (It was formerly known as National Consortium for Health Science and Technology Education.)

From their website:

“The National Consortium for Health Science Education is a national partnership of individuals and organizations with a vested interest in health science education.…”

“The mission of National Consortium for Health Science Education is to provide leadership and professional development for health science education through collaboration among education, healthcare industry, policy makers and professional organization.”

NCHSE established the National Healthcare Foundation Standards and Accountability Criteria which are recognized by many state departments of education.  AES’s HealthCenter21 content is based on these standards and criteria.

In 2007, NCHSE introduced their National Healthcare Foundation Skills Assessment, which is one component of an assessment and certificate program aligned to the National Healthcare Foundation Standards and Accountability Criteria.

Applied Educational Systems is a member of the National Consortium for Health Science Education Publisher’s Coalition. The coalition is unique to most consortiums and is made up of publishing companies with a special interest in health science education. Through this membership, AES is afforded with cutting-edge information regarding trends and issues about:

  • health science education
  • healthcare industry and health careers
  • NCHSE’s products and services

We can easily incorporate this knowledge into our curriculum.

National Consortium for Health Science Education–Annual Board of Directors Meeting

national consortium for health science education

Anne Kuser was fortunate enough to be invited to the National Consortium for Health Science Education Annual Meeting to network with the state leads for health sciences, and other members of the publishers’ coalition.

What is National Consortium for Health Science Education?

The National Consortium for Health Science Education group is a “fun bunch of people” who are dedicated to health science education, and work hard to ensure that health science educators across the country are kept abreast of updates in the field, providing them with resources to alleviate some of the challenges that they face.  We, the members of the publishers’ coalition, are invited to attend the latter part of their meeting, so that we, too, can learn about the challenges in the field, and assist in providing resources to engage students, and enable their success.

The Georgetown Healthcare Report

Cindy LeCoq, State Lead for Colorado, presented information on the “Georgetown Healthcare Report,” a report that provides detailed analyses and projections of healthcare fields, occupations and their wages.  You can read the report here:

The information is an eye opener, since we come to learn about the projections for 2020, and the fact that healthcare job openings will grow by 30%.  Clearly, it’s imperative that the country recognizes the need to educate students to fulfill these positions, and our goal, as a curriculum developer, is to ensure that we continue to provide quality resources to motivate these students.  The stakes are high, and we’re all set to meet the challenge!

Special Projects

Kuser was assigned to the “Special Projects” committee, headed up by Lara Skaggs, State Lead for Oklahoma.  Lara is an engaging leader, whose candor and wit provided laughter for the entire group.  The Special Projects Committee focused on finding ways to assist educators with the task at hand, and it was evident that Lara is passionate about her position, and about helping all health science instructors.

All in all…This meeting provided Kuser with a wealth of knowledge that she was able to share with our group here at AES.  Our thanks go out to all the members of the Consortium, and a special thanks to Thalea Longhurst, the current Chairperson, who did an excellent job of overseeing the entire meeting.  Thalea, with Joan Thompson, State Lead for NC are pictured in the photo at the top of the post.

National Consortium for Health Science Education: 3 Things I Learned

I always learn a lot when I attend the Annual Board of Directors Meeting for the National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE).  As a member of NCHSE’s “Publishers Coalition,” Applied Educational Systems is invited each year to participate with the full members of the Board.

Here are three important things I learned from sitting in on National Consortium for Health Science Education member updates, committee meetings, and guest speaker presentations:

1.)    Health Information Technology vs. Health Information Management

As health educators, we are familiar with Health Informatics as a career pathway for our students.  But with all the attention and publicity surrounding electronic medical records and “H.I.T.” these days, it’s easy to confuse “Health Information Technology” with “Health Information Management.”  (There’s a difference? Yes! Check out this post.)

In short, Health Information Technology (HIT) deals with the computer hardware and software used for storing, retrieving and sharing healthcare information, while Health Information Management (HIM) is concerned with managing healthcare data and information resources.  HIT professionals are often engineers, technicians and programmers, while HIM professionals are the business managers and custodians of data and information in health care.

2. Common Core Standards for CTE?

A frequent issue discussed by NCHSE board members at the meeting was how they are working to align health science education with the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  But as Dr. Dean Folkers of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) explained during his presentation, career and technical educators will soon have their own common standards:  The Common Career Technical Core (CCTC).

The Common Career Technical Core initiative is a state-led effort to ensure rigorous, high-quality career technical education (CTE) programs through a set of common standards.  These standards are built from industry-validated Career Cluster™ Knowledge and Skills statements that will include:

Standards for Career Ready Practice, Career Cluster™ Anchor Standards, applicable to each of the 16 Career Clusters™, and Career Pathway Anchor Standards, linked to specific Career Pathways and industry benchmarked when possible.

The Common Core Technical Core standards are available here.  To learn more about the CCTC initiative, look here.

3. National Consortium for Health Science Education has lots of great tools and resources for teachers… Some of them are FREE!

For more than twenty years, NCHSE has been providing passionate and energetic leadership and professional development for health science educators.  And they also provide some really cool “stuff!”

The NCHSE Online Resources Store has guides and lesson plans for health science cluster instruction, service learning, as well as interdisciplinary units.  And their “Health Science Instructional Supplements” help teachers align classroom instruction with the National Healthcare Foundations Standards.

NCHSE: Preparing Students for the National Health Science Assessment

By the end of this school year, nearly 20,000 health science students in more than 20 states will have taken the NCHSE “National Health Science Assessment.” If your students will be among them, how will you help them prepare?

When Nancy Allen saw an opportunity to help South Carolina’s health science students prepare for the NCHSE exam, she jumped on it!

Nancy is the Health Science Education Associate for the SC Department of Education. She applied for a grant from the South Carolina Hospital Association to “expand resources to well-qualified teachers… and to determine if these resources can improve scores on the National Health Science Assessment.”

In August of 2011, Nancy’s grant application was approved.

The National Health Science Assessment is challenging. The test measures student mastery of basic skills and knowledge from NCHSE’s National Healthcare Foundation Standards and Accountability Criteria. Nationally, just 55% of test takers passed the 100-question multiple-choice test last year. And South Carolina students performed on par with students around the country, with an overall average score of 70% — exactly the same as the National average.

2009-2010 Average NCHSE Assessment Scores–SC vs. National

NCHSE Assessment

With her grant, Nancy turned to Applied Educational Systems (AES) to help design a solution that could help improve these scores by: 1) providing teachers with engaging “blended learning resources” covering the NCHSE Foundation Standards, and 2) providing students with an “online” resource that they could use for self-study and remediation – anytime, anywhere.

AES started by analyzing past score data for South Carolina’s students. By sorting the average scores for each National Consortium for Health Science Education standard area, from lowest to highest, AES identified four potential areas of focus:  Healthcare Systems, Health Maintenance Practices, Academic Foundations, and Technical Skills.

2009-2010 South Carolina Average NCHSE Scores–by Standard Area

Carolina Average

Using its HealthCenter21 content library, AES then created a customized “course template” for South Carolina, covering all of the tested knowledge and skills – with emphasis placed on the four areas where students struggle most. The finished course template included 14 HealthCenter21 modules in this order:

HealthCenter21 – SC Health Foundations Standards Review

Participating teachers and students would be able to access online multimedia presentations, interactive activities, quizzes and tests from each of the selected modules – as well as from any of the other 40+ titles in the HealthCenter21 Online Catalog. In addition, teachers could download the PowerPoint presentations, skills checklists, and group projects from each module to supplement classroom and lab activities.

Nancy invited teachers from high schools and career centers around South Carolina to submit a “Participant Agreement Form,” listing some basic school data – including the numbers of students who would be taking the National Consortium for Health Science Education Assessment in the Fall and Spring semesters.

Twenty-five instructors from 15 different schools applied to participate in the project. Each teacher attended one of several online “Orientation Webinars” conducted by Applied Educational, and was given individualized instruction as needed. Teachers learned how to login, view and edit their courses, enroll students, use online resources, and view student quiz and test data.

Results, So Far…

By April of 2012, 550 South Carolina health science students had logged in more than 4,400 times to the customized online resources – either as part of a blended learning experience with their teachers, or as self-study preparation prior to the National Consortium for Health Science Education assessment.

National Consortium for Health Science Education test data will be released to States later in the year, so the final results will be published by Applied Educational Systems in a future article. But Nancy Allen is confident that the South Carolina schools who participated in this special project will see improvement in all areas of the National Health Science Assessment; and she is already thinking ahead to next year!

National Health Science Assessment Certification…Not just a piece of paper!

It’s another school year, and students across the country will be preparing to take the National Health Science Assessment certification.  It’s a challenging test, and measures student mastery of basic skills and knowledge from NCHSE’s National Healthcare Foundation Standards and Accountability Criteria.

Attainment of the National Health Science Assessment certification helps to ensure that graduates are armed with skills coveted by employers and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act requires recipients of the funding to ensure its graduates have mastered the technical skills needed by business and industry.  The NCHSE National Health Science Assessment meets the requirements of a technical skill attainment assessment for the Perkins Act.

National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) sets educational standards for health science

The healthcare industry is advancing rapidly as the population increases and ages, and healthcare careers are expected to have higher than average job projections well into the future.  NCHSE does an excellent job of apprising educators of the healthcare industry outlook, and by setting educational standards for healthcare education.  Their website, is a wealth of information.  (Don’t forget to take a look at the free classroom activities for elementary students that they recently added).

Applied Educational Systems is proud to be a member of National Consortium for Health Science Education Publishers’ Coalition which allows the company to keep abreast of current trends and issues in health science education, the healthcare industry, as well as NCHSE’s products and services.  In this way, AES can keep up with changing standards, procedures (e.g. CPR methods, MyPlate, etc.), in an effort to provide the most up to date health science curriculum for their instructors, and motivate students to succeed.

AES follows the lead of National Health Science Assessment Certification

For our part, AES is following the lead of the National Consortium for Health Science Education, and our HealthCenter21 curriculum has been developed to correlate with the National Consortium for Health Science Education standards.  You can see this correlation here.

Many instructors who are using HealthCenter21 are preparing their students for the National Health Science Assessment Certification, and have reported back to us that their scores have increased.  You can hear from two of these instructors in this article.

We’re looking forward to working with many more instructors in engaging students to succeed…!

Health Science Lesson Plan: History of Health Care