College and Career Ready Definitions

“Massachusetts students who are college and career ready will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities that are necessary to successfully complete entry-level, credit-bearing college courses, participate in certificate or workplace training programs, and enter economically viable career pathways. In order to meet this goal, the Commonwealth has defined a set of learning competencies, intellectual capacities and experiences essential for all students to become lifelong learners; positive contributors to their families, workplaces and communities; and successfully engaged citizens of a global 21st century. Beyond achieving college and career ready levels of competence in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics, all high school students should develop a foundation in the academic disciplines identified in the MassCore course of study: (1) build competencies for workplace readiness as articulated in the Integrating College and Career Task Force Report, and (2) focus on applying academic strategies to problem solving in diverse professional and life contexts, appropriate to individual student goals. Massachusetts will use its 2011 curriculum frameworks, which include the Common Core State Standards, as the basis for an educational program that provides students with the academic knowledge, skills and experience.

Learning Competencies:

College and career ready students in English Language Arts/Literacy will be academically prepared to:

  • Read and comprehend a range of sufficiently complex texts independently
  • Write effectively when using and/or analyzing sources
  • Build and present knowledge through research and the integration, comparison, and synthesis of ideas
  • Use context to determine the meaning of words and phrases

College and career ready students in Mathematics will be academically prepared to:

  • Solve problems involving the major content with connections to the mathematical practices
  • Solve problems involving the additional and supporting content with connections to the mathematical practices
  • Express mathematical reasoning by constructing mathematical arguments and critiques
  • Solve real world problems, engaging particularly in the modeling practice

Work Ethic and Professionalism

  • Attendance and punctuality expected by the workplace
  • Workplace appearance appropriate for position and duties
  • Accepting direction and constructive criticism with a positive attitude and response
  • Motivation and taking initiative, taking projects from initiation to completion
  • Understanding workplace culture, policy and safety, including respecting confidentiality and workplace ethics
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills
  • Oral and written communication appropriate to the workplace
  • Listening attentively and confirming understanding
  • Interacting with co-workers, individually and in teams

In high school, students should demonstrate:

  • Higher order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
  • The ability to think critically, coherently, and creatively
  • The ability to direct and evaluate their own learning, be aware of resources available to support their learning, and have the confidence to access these resources when needed.
  • Motivation, intellectual curiosity, flexibility, discipline, self-advocacy, responsibility, and reasoned beliefs”


Massachusetts Department of Education. (2013). Massachusetts definition of college and career readiness. Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education & Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. Boston, MA: Author. Retrieved from

Accountability Metrics
  • Student achievement status on state tests
  • Student growth on state tests
  • Student English language acquisition
  • Four-year graduation rate
  • Additional graduation rates (five or more years)
  • Student drop out rate
  • Student re-engagement of dropouts
  • Test participation of less than 95 percent of students limits or reduces overall rating or classification
Source: Center for American Progress. (2016). Explore the Data for ‘Making the Grade’. Retrieved from
College and Career Ready Reporting Metrics
State Report Card1
Early Warning Systems2
Office for Career/Vocational Technical Education: School District Data Reporting
Early Warning Systems2
Number of graduates1 completing the MassCore1
Student performance on state tests by group,  status, or behavior2
9th- to 12th-grade dropout rate1
Attendance rate1, 2
In-school suspension rate1, 2
Out-of-school suspension rate1, 2
Retention rate1, 2
Students with more than nine unexcused absences1
Special Education2
EL status2
Title I participation2
In-state college enrollment1
Plans of high school graduates1
Transition to:1
     o Four-year private colleges
     o Four-year public colleges
     o Two-year private colleges1
     o Two-year public colleges
     o Other postsecondary
     o Work1
     o Military1
     o Other1
1. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2016)School/district profiles. Retrieved from
2. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2017). Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS). Retrieved from
Dual Enrollment and Early College High School

Dual Enrollment and Articulation

Massachusetts allows students to earn dual credit through dual- enrollment coursework. It is unclear if state law requires public postsecondary institutions to accept these credits (Education Commission of the States, 2015).

A list of participating campuses can be found at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education website.

Early College High School

Six districts were awarded funds to launch science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Early College High Schools (ECHS). More information about STEM ECHS in Massachusetts, including a list of each school receiving an award, is available at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education website.

In addition to the STEM ECHS noted above, the Gateway to College National Network partnered with several institutions of higher education to provide five Early College High Schools as part of the Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI). More information about schools participating in ECHSI is available at the ECHSI website (Jobs for the Future, n.d.).

Citations: Jobs for the Future. (n.d.). Schools. Retrieved from

Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. (2011). College and career readiness. Retrieved from

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. (n.d.). Commonwealth dual enrollment program. Retrieved from

Education Commission of the States. (2015). Dual enrollment – all state profiles. Retrieved from

Career Pathways

Massachusetts organizes its secondary CTE programs into 10 Vocational Technical Education (VTE) areas:

  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Arts and Communication Services
  • Business and Consumer Services
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Health Services
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information Technology Services
  • Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology
  • Transportation

Within these areas, Massachusetts implements programs of study aligned with the following 15 Career Clusters:

  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  • Architecture & Construction
  • Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Education & Training
  • Government & Public Administration
  • Health Science
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics


National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium. (2013). The state of career technical education: An analysis of state CTE standards. Silver Spring, MD: Author. Retrieved from

National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium. (n.d.). Massachusetts [Interactive map of state CTE profiles]. Retrieved from

Career Exploration and Career Plans
Massachusetts does not have a statewide system for career exploration or career plans at the K–12 level.
Alignment Between High School Graduation and State College Admission Requirements

High School and College Alignment


High School Graduation Requirements

College Admission Requirements

English Credits:



Mathematics Credits:


3.0 (Algebra I, Algebra II, and geometry or trigonometry, or their equivalents)

Social Studies Credits:



Science Credits:

3.0 (each course with laboratory experience)

3.0 (including two courses with laboratory experience)

Foreign Language Credits:



Arts Credits:


See additional credits

Additional Credits:

5.0 (from among business education, health, and/or technology)

2.0 (from among above content areas or computer sciences)

Total Credits:




Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or ACT®


Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Massachusetts Board of Higher Education





Early Warning Systems

Massachusetts’ state-specific Early Warning System is called the Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS). Early Warning System data are reported at the student, school, and district levels to teachers and administrators.


Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2015). Massachusetts Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS). Retrieved from

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2015). Educator evaluation and the use of the Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS). Retrieved from

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2015). The Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) data for the 2013-14 school year now available! Retrieved from