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New Report Emphasizes Need for States to Define College and Career Readiness Measures

States are having difficulties coming up with a formulation that properly assesses their students' college and career readiness, something a new report says is a major necessity. It's particularly stressful now that the deadline for states to submit their ESSA accountability plans is nearing. That being said, a recent report aims to help states that are struggling to find a proper college and career readiness measurement system.

"Without a clear focus on career readiness in state accountability systems, educators, parents, policy makers and other key stakeholders lack the information and incentives necessary to make career preparation a priority for all students," according to the CCSSO's report. With that in mind, the CCSSO recommends that states should consider adopting four ESSA-aligned career and college readiness measures:

  1. Progress Toward Post-High School Credential - Student demonstration of successful progress toward credentials of value beyond high school.
  2. Co-Curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences - Student completion of state-defined co-curricular experience(s) aligned to students’ academic and career plans.
  3. Assessment of Readiness - Students scoring at the college- and career-ready level on assessment(s) that are validated by higher education and industry.
  4. Transitions Beyond High School - Successful student transition to postsecondary education, training or the workforce within 12 months of graduation.

One state that is having trouble with finding an appropriate college and career readiness indicator (CCI) is California. The state's current CCI formulation places too much emphasis on college preparedness over career readiness.

California's current measures are focused around "Advanced Placement test scores, Smarter Balanced math and English scores for 11th-graders, whether students are concurrently enrolled in community colleges, whether they have completed a career technical education pathway, whether they have completed courses required for University of California and California State University admission, and other measures," according to EdSource. The state decided to exclude the indicator from its school and district report cards as a result of this unbalanced weighting.

Then there is of course the issue of added spending to develop proper data collection systems, according to Education Week. Some schools simply don't have the proper resources to develop a proper CCI. Despite some states' struggles, there are a few states like Kentucky who are excelling.

"The report extols Kentucky as a model, praising officials there for reporting post–high school outcomes in accountability scores and for the state’s emphasis on military enrollment as a viable career pathway," according to The 74.

Luckily, CCSSO's report includes steps that states can take to ensure that they're properly measuring students' career and college readiness. On page 36 of the report, you will find five particular actions/guidelines for states to follow. They include:

  1. "Publicly report performance of all high schools across all four measurement categories, disaggregated by individual measures and all subgroups;"
  2. "Increase the sophistication of measures in all four categories annually, striving to reach the Exceptional level within 5 years;"
  3. "Include each category of measure in the state’s accountability determination system;"
  4. "Make each measure a significant part of the high school accountability determination;"
  5. "Use the information to support improvements in preparing all students for college and career."

Read the full report here.


Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.


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