North Carolina

College and Career Ready Definitions
North Carolina has not adopted or made available a definition of college and career readiness.
Accountability Metrics
  • Student achievement status on state tests
  • Student growth on state tests
  • Four-year graduation rate
  • Additional graduation rates (five or more years)
  • Performance on college entry exams such as SAT, ACT, ACCUPLACER, or COMPASS
  • Career preparedness performance, including earning credentials or certificates, performance on WorkKeys, and grades in career and technical education courses
Source: Center for American Progress. (2016). Explore the Data for ‘Making the Grade’. Retrieved from
College and Career Ready Reporting Metrics
Report Card1
SAT and AP Reports2 
Career and Technical Education Data and Reports3
Annual Dropout Reports4
UNC Postsecondary Outcome Data5
Early Warning System6
EOC exams1
AP exams2
Advanced course enrollment (AP, IB, community college, university)
CTE participation1
CTE enrollment by pathway3
CTSO membership3
Students earning CTE postsecondary credit in high school3
CTE concentrators3
Number of concentrators by pathway3
CTE students reaching targeted level of skill attainment3
CTE students completing3
CTE students graduating3
CTE students employed within six to nine months3
Further education and training3
Two-year college3
Four-year college3
Formal training3
Number of acts of crime or violence1
Suspension rate1
Expulsion rate1
Attendance rate1, 6
Dropout rate4
Postsecondary enrollment5
Postsecondary persistence5
Course placement and enrollment5
Students with advanced placement in English5
In regular English5
In remedial English5
In calculus or above5
In college algebra5
In other math5
In remedial math5
In honors program5
In ≥1 remedial course5
Average credit hours by subject5
Average course grades by subject5
Students passing by subject5
1. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (2013a). Education First NC school report cards. Retrieved from
2. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (n.d.). The North Carolina SAT and AP Reports. Retrieved from
3. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (2011). Career and technical education: Data and reports. Retrieved from
4. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (n.d.). Annual reports. Retrieved from
5. University of North Carolina. (n.d.). Freshman measures. Retrieved from
6. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (n.d.). Using PowerSchool’s At Risk Report. Retrieved from
Dual Enrollment and Early College High School

Dual Enrollment and Articulation

North Carolina’s state policy allows students to earn dual credit for academic or CTE postsecondary courses taken at their high school, a postsecondary institution, or virtually. All public postsecondary institutions in the state are required to accept dual-enrollment credits (ECS, 2015).

Early College High School

The College of the Albemarle, Gateway to College National Network, North Carolina Early College Initiative, North Carolina New Schools Project, and SECME, Inc. have partnered with institutions of higher education to provide 76 Early College High School programs as part of the Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI).


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

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

Career Pathways

North Carolina has adopted the National Career Clusters Framework and has modified the 16 Career Clusters. The 16 National Career Clusters have been grouped by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction into seven program areas.

The modified Career Clusters include:

  • Agricultural
  • Business, Finance, and Information Technology
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Marketing and Entrepreneurship
  • Technology, Engineering, and Design
  • Trade and Industrial

North Carolina offers the following programs of study within the following Career Clusters:

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


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

Career Exploration and Career Plans

North Carolina 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:

4.0 (including Algebra I, geometry, and Algebra II or their equivalents)

4.0 (in any of the following combinations:

Algebra I and II, geometry, and one unit beyond Algebra II;

Algebra I and II and two units beyond Algebra II; or their equivalents)

Social Studies Credits:

4.0 (including civics and economics, world history, and U.S. history)

2.0 (including U.S. history)

Science Credits:

3.0 (physical science, biology, and environmental science)

3.0 (life or biological science, physical science, and at least one laboratory course)

Foreign Language Credits:

See Additional Credits


Arts Credits:

See Additional Credits

None specified (N/S)

Additional Credits:

6.0 (health/physical education [1.0]; select from among career and technical education, arts education, or foreign language [2.0]; other electives from among career and technical education, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, arts education, or any other subject area [4.0])


Total Credits:





Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or ACT®


North Carolina State Board of Education

University of North Carolina System


The above graduation requirements, known as the Future-Ready Core, were first implemented for ninth graders entering in 2012–13.



Early Warning Systems

North Carolina’s state-specific Early Warning System is called the Early Warning Reporting System. Early Warning System data are reported by singular student, school, district, or specific grouping. Administration, student support staff, and teachers can access the data, at the discretion of local district administration. 


North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (n.d.a.). Using PowerSchool’s At Risk Report. Retrieved from

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (n.d.a.). Early Warning Reporting Systems. Retrieved from