Getting Ready for College- and Career-Readiness

The term “college- and career-ready”, which has been part of education discourse for at least 5 years now, recently has taken center stage. Though references to college- and career-readiness are ubiquitous these days, such as in the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA Blueprint for Reform, there are few explicit definitions for what it means to be college- and career-ready. Notable exceptions include the Common Core State Standards, which incorporates college- and career-readiness as a part of its literacy and math standards, and the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE), which has developed a set of career-ready standards that differentiate between academic skills, employability skills, and technical skills.

While the definitions in these documents and others often overlap, they by no means present a shared vision of what it means to graduate high school prepared for college and career. In fact, the term college AND career ready is an important shift from the more traditional view of educating students for college OR career. College- and career-ready discussions provide a prominent platform to continue to engage stakeholders in a national dialogue about what students must know and be able to do when they graduate high school in the 21st century. At its heart, this is a debate about the purpose of education and opportunities to learn. The nation’s lack of a shared vision for the knowledge and skills that students need post-high school has led to inconsistent, often low, expectations and generations of underprepared adults.

College- and career-readiness, including their definitions, integration, and assessment, is a priority topic for the National High School Center.  We will begin exploring more issues of college- and career-readiness over the course of this week and will continue to track and post new developments in the future.

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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