Dr. Joseph Harris, Director of the National High School Center, presented Promoting Postsecondary Success for ALL High School Students at the annual Leveraging Resources Conference this week in Maryland. During his presentation, Dr. Harris described the National High School Center’s new tool, the College and Career Development Organizer, created using data from the Center’s scan of more than 70 organizations that address college and career readiness. Through the scan, the Center identified three major challenges in the college and career readiness field. First, the definition of college and career ready is not clear, explicit, or shared. Second, the mission, organization, structures, and cultures of many high schools do not always support college and career readiness for all students. Third, there are limited measures of college and career readiness at both individual and school levels. In recognition of these challenges, the National High School Center developed an organizer to help make sense of an increasingly complicated field. This organizer is intended to help users traverse the vast landscape of college and career readiness and to serve as a guide as they develop contextually-appropriate definitions, determine necessary supports, and build accountability and improvement cycles that include measures of CCR. The organizer identifies three intertwining strands:
- Goals and Expectations for College and Career Readiness addresses the question of what high school graduates should know and be able to do. It focuses not only on the Common Core State Standards, but also on pathways content standards (that include both academic and technical skills) and lifelong learning skills that range from employment and study skills to social emotional skills, such as resilience, persistence and self advocacy, that are frequently critical to the success of traditionally underserved students.
- Pathways and Supports for College and Career Preparation covers the myriad initiatives that provide personalized learning supports and rigorous programs of study, including general, college preparatory, and technical curricula, that are necessary to enable students to meet their college and career goals and expectations.
- Outcomes and Measures for College and Career Success includes all the activities and initiatives that focus on using data to monitor ongoing progress – through the use of a variety of early warning systems and other on-track indicators – and provide certification of mastery as well as feedback for high school improvement. Simply put, it answers the question—how do we know when high school graduates meet expectations?