When Success Is the Only Option: Designing Competency-Based Pathways for Next Generation Learning

This brief argues that a competency-based approach to education is necessary to maximize learning opportunities and student diversity in the 21st century. Drawing from expertise in the field and the preexisting research base, this paper attempts to pinpoint the characteristics of high-quality and effective competency-based pathways. Additionally, it articulates the conditions wherein innovation and implementation of competency-based approaches have surged, and the associated setbacks and challenges states and districts are facing as a result. 

Essential Elements of State Policy for College Completion: Transitional Courses for College and Career Readiness

This brief provides policymakers with elements to consider when developing state policies around implementing high school transitional courses aimed at improving college completion rates. The brief includes questions for consideration, examples of existing state policies and actions, and recommendations for effective policies for transitional courses. 

Joint Guidance Letter on Career Pathways

This letter outlines a joint commitment of the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Labor to promote the use of career pathways, encourage alignment of state resources, and ensure all interested parties are aware of the commitment. This letter also defines career pathways and provides details of what a career pathways approach should include.

CCRS Center Year 2 Preview

Yesterday we shared some highlights from the first year of the College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center. Today we’d like to share some of our plans for Year 2!

Over the course of our first year, we have seen three major CCRS themes emerge that will form the cornerstones of our work moving forward: multiple pathways to success, P20-W alignment, and indicators and measures of college and career readiness.

The Future of Career and College Pathways

In June 2013, the National Center for College and Career Transitions (NC3T) surveyed Career Technical Education (CTE) and Career Academy practitioners at the school, district, and state levels to learn about the state of pathways programs: Where they were, where they had been, and where they were headed. In August, NC3T published the results of that survey, which show regular organic growth over the past few years, with growth forecasted for the future, despite little support in the policy arena.

Some notable findings from the report:

Georgia Ninth-Graders Will Have To Pick Career Paths

Starting this year Georgia ninth-graders will be required to choose one of 17 career clusters or opt to take more college-prep courses. The goals of the policy are for students to be better prepared to join the workforce and for high school graduation rates to increase. Students will receive three of the 23 credits required for graduation by taking the career pathways courses.

ACT Profile Aims to Help Students Find Career and College Direction

ACT Profile, launched by ACT Inc., is a new website that allows students to explore possible career paths and college options that align with individual student's strengths, interests, and values. The site includes interest inventories, a college search section, and a section that allows students to develop an electronic portfolio. ACT Profile is available for free to anyone over 13 years of age and can be accessed through Facebook and Twitter.

2 Texas Colleges Will Offer Competency-Based Hybrid Degree

Texas A&M University and South Texas College, in partnership with Pearson Education and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will offer competency-based hybrid degrees next spring. The program, known as the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Program, will allow students to earn a degree in organizational leadership. The program requires students to complete a 90-hour online credit program that uses a competency-based curriculum. The sessions can be completed at the student's own pace and will cost less than $1,000.

Transforming Remediation: Understanding the Research, Policy, and Practice

On August 15 the College and Career Readiness and Success Center and the American Youth Policy Forum co-hosted the webinar, “Transforming Remediation: Understanding the Research, Policy, and Practice.” The Webinar addressed barriers to the successful completion of postsecondary education, specifically the need to alter and reform remedial education practices.


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