The Secretary shall, in consultation with the Director, collect performance information about, and report on, the condition of career and technical education and on the effectiveness of State and local programs, services, and activities carried out under this subchapter in order to provide the Secretary and Congress, as well as Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies, with information relevant to improvement in the quality and effectiveness of career and technical education. The Secretary shall report annually to Congress on the Secretary’s aggregate analysis of performance information collected each year pursuant to this subchapter from eligible agencies under section 2323(b)(3)(C) of this title, including an analysis of performance data regarding special populations.
The Secretary shall, to the extent feasible, ensure that the performance information system is compatible with other Federal information systems.
As a regular part of its assessments, the National Center for Education Statistics shall collect and report information on career and technical education for a nationally representative sample of students. Such assessment may include international comparisons in the aggregate.
The Secretary shall take such action as may be necessary to secure at reasonable cost the information required by this subchapter. To ensure reasonable cost, the Secretary, in consultation with the National Center for Education Statistics and the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education shall determine the methodology to be used and the frequency with which such information is to be collected.
The Secretary shall, directly or through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, carry out research, development, dissemination, evaluation and assessment, capacity building, and technical assistance with regard to the career and technical education programs under this chapter. The Secretary shall develop a single plan for such activities.
The Secretary, acting through the Director, shall appoint an independent advisory panel to advise the Secretary on the implementation of the evaluation described in paragraph (2) and the plan developed under subsection (c), including the issues to be addressed and the methodology of the studies involved to ensure that the evaluation adheres to the highest standards of quality.
From amounts made available under subsection (f), the Secretary, acting through the Director, shall provide for the conduct of a series of research and evaluation initiatives for each year for which funds are appropriated to carry out this chapter, which are aligned with the plan in subsection (c)(2), of career and technical education programs under this chapter, including the implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, to the extent practicable, through studies and analyses conducted independently through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements that are awarded on a competitive basis. Whenever possible, data used for the evaluation for a fiscal year shall be data from the most recent fiscal year for which such data are available, and from the 5-year period preceding that fiscal year.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the reports required by this subsection shall not be subject to any review outside the Department of Education before their transmittal to the relevant committees of Congress and the Secretary, but the President, the Secretary, the Director, and the independent advisory panel established under paragraph (1) may make such additional recommendations to Congress with respect to the assessment as the President, the Secretary, the Director, or the panel determine to be appropriate.
In addition to submitting the reports required under clause (i), the Secretary shall disseminate the results of the evaluation widely and on a timely basis in order to increase the understanding among State and local officials and educators of the effectiveness of programs and activities supported under the  chapter and of the career and technical education programs and programs of study that are most likely to produce positive educational and employment outcomes.
The Secretary may collect and disseminate information from States regarding State efforts to meet State determined levels of performance described in section 2323(b) of this title, as long as such information does not reveal any personally identifiable information.
The Secretary shall gather any information collected pursuant to subparagraph (A) and submit a report to the relevant committees in Congress.
From amounts made available under subsection (f), the Secretary, after consultation with the Director, the Commissioner for Education Research, and the States, and with input from the independent advisory panel established under subsection (d)(1)(A), shall award a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, on a competitive basis, to an institution of higher education or to a consortium of one or more institutions of higher education and one or more private nonprofit organizations or agencies, to carry out one or more of the activities described in subparagraph (B).
The institution or consortium receiving a grant under this paragraph shall annually prepare a report containing information about the key research findings of such entity under this paragraph and shall submit copies of the report to the Secretary and the Director. The Secretary shall submit copies of the report to the relevant committees of Congress, the Library of Congress, and each eligible agency.
The institution or consortium receiving a grant under this paragraph shall conduct dissemination and training activities based on the research carried out under this paragraph on a timely basis, including through dissemination networks and, as appropriate and relevant, technical assistance providers within the Department.
To identify, support, and rigorously evaluate evidence-based and innovative strategies and activities to improve and modernize career and technical education and align workforce skills with labor market needs as part of the State plan under section 2342 of this title and local application under section 2354 of this title and the requirements of this subsection, the Secretary may use not more than 20 percent of the amounts appropriated under subsection (f) to award grants to eligible entities, eligible institutions, or eligible recipients to carry out the activities described in paragraph (7).
Except as provided under subparagraph (B), to receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible entity, eligible institution, or eligible recipient shall, through cash or in-kind contributions, provide matching funds from non-Federal sources in an amount equal to not less than 50 percent of the funds provided under such grant.
The Secretary may waive the matching fund requirement under subparagraph (A) if the eligible entity, eligible institution, or eligible recipient demonstrates exceptional circumstances.
In awarding grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall give priority to applications from eligible entities, eligible institutions, or eligible recipients that will predominantly serve students from low-income families.
The Secretary may extend such grants for not more than 1 additional 2-year period if the grantee demonstrates to the Secretary that the grantee is achieving the grantee’s program objectives and, as applicable, has improved education outcomes for career and technical education students, including special populations.