College, Career, and Civic Readiness: How Can a State Measure It? – Part 2

Girls Studying

On July 9, 2014, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) hosted the Webinar, “College, Career, and Civic Readiness: How Can a State Measure It?” The Webinar highlighted different methods of measuring college, career, and civic readiness (CCCR) that have been overlooked by more traditional CCCR indicators such as standardized test scores. To discuss this issue, Megan Sambolt from the College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center at the American Institutes for Research was joined by Roger Marcum, Chair of the Kentucky State Board of Education (KDE); Ken Draut, Kentucky Associate Commissioner of Assessment and Accountability; and Dale Winkler, Kentucky Associate Commissioner, Office of Career Technical Education.

Draut discussed KDE’s college readiness measurements and shared how Kentucky joined the Council on Postsecondary Education to develop a college readiness definition that would be used by all public colleges and universities in the state. KDE’s definition of college readiness is based off 50 years of research by ACT and provides a framework of the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a two/four-year college without remediation. He described how the KDE uses the ACT for its measure of college readiness and how, each year, the ACT is administered to all juniors. KDE’s benchmarks for the ACT are:

  • Reading 20
  • Mathematics 19
  • English 18

If a student successfully reaches these benchmarks, he/she will be placed in college credit bearing classes. However, if a student does not reach them, that student will receive remediation options while still in high school. They can take free courses to boost their skills or they can take the Kentucky online test that provides scores equivalent to ACT benchmarks. Draut then presented data, which showed how college readiness went from 43.5 percent in 2012 to 49 percent in 2013, the first year they applied their college readiness definition.

Winkler highlighted KDE’s commitment to career readiness. KDE adopted a career ready definition and primarily looks at two measurements to indicate if a student is career ready:

  • is a student ready academically and
  • is a student ready technically

To measure academic readiness, KDE looks at two exams, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and the ACT WorkKeys. Students can take either one of these exams and must reach certain benchmarks to be considered career ready. In regards to technical readiness, students must achieve an industry certification, or they can take the Kentucky Occupational Skills Assessments as an alternative, which are based on several different career clusters. In addition, KDE places special emphasis on professional learning in relation to teachers and how they understand project based learning that integrates academics. Winkler also shared data, which illustrated how career readiness jumped from 14.5 percent in 2012 to 21.8 percent in 2013, the first year they applied their career readiness definition.

Marcum described KDE’s keys to success and what he called “unbridled learning,” which places special emphasis on college readiness and strives to make students more than just proficient. He stated that KDE does well in providing consistent support for education reform as well as increasing rigor and making judicious decisions on best practices. He also stressed that in order to implement their college and career ready standards, there first had to be collaboration between KDE, the Education Professional Standards Board, and the Council of Postsecondary Education. In addition to this, KDE also uses communication and the use of feedback from the community and other partnerships to shape regulations and policies. This communication helps to create buy-in at all levels. Lastly, Marcum described how the implementation of data-driven decisions plays a large role in KDE’s success. 

To access full Webinar content and information click here.

Jeremy Rasmussen is a project associate at the College and Career Readiness and Success Center.


Photo credit: Flickr


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