Issue/Policy Brief

Pathways to New Accountability Through the Every Student Succeeds Act

The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states with flexibility and the responsibility to design and implement new systems of accountability, support, and intervention. With the new law comes an opportunity to focus efforts at the school, district, and state level on ensuring that all students graduate high school with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to participate fully in our society.

Redesigning School Accountability and Support: Progress in Pioneering States

With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states now have flexibility to design more balanced accountability systems. This report details the advancement made by 10 states to create accountability systems that support meaningful learning opportunities, especially in terms of current policy and capacity-building efforts in designing accountability frameworks. Included in this report are examples of state legislation, working papers, and board meeting minutes.

How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes a number of key provisions related to career readiness. It includes an updated definition of a “well-rounded” education and requires schools to add, at minimum, one indicator of school quality or student success to their accountability system. This brief details considerations for using these indicators and offers appendices highlighting how states define these indicators in their accountability systems.      

English Language Arts: Findings from the American Teacher Panel

This report presents findings from two self-report surveys taken by teachers throughout the United States. The surveys were designed to gather information on how teachers use instructional resources to address their state standards. In addition, the report identifies areas where teachers have mixed understandings regarding the instructional approaches most aligned with their standards. It offers recommendations for states and districts to consider, such as the development of goals, messages, and resources in those areas.   

MDRC Research on Career Pathways

As postsecondary credentials have become increasingly important for accessing higher quality employment, a growing number of education and workforce programs are implementing career pathways approaches to help both youth and adults prepare for further education and better jobs. In recent years, MDRC has conducted research on a range of career pathways programs and their components.

Beyond College Readiness: College Awareness as a First Step

This policy brief states that a student’s first steps toward college attendance begins with the student’s awareness of college and career options. However, in order to make students aware of postsecondary opportunities, state boards must first enhance their college readiness standards with college awareness initiatives. To that end, this brief provides two examples of initiatives in Oregon and Idaho that have done just that.

Connecticut Postsecondary Pathways for Opportunity Youth

This resource provides an overview of evidence-based practices and structures that promote pathways to postsecondary opportunities for vulnerable youth (particularly those in the juvenile justice system) in Connecticut. This resource also describes common barriers to success that vulnerable youth in this state encounter. The study that informed the findings and recommendations presented in this resource was conducted by the American Youth Policy Forum in collaboration with the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Tow Foundation.

Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework

This resource details the Foundations for Young Adult Success, a developmental framework with foundational components that underlie key factors to children’s success (broadly defined as the ability to fulfill individual goals and influence the world). The foundational components include self-regulation, knowledge and skills, mind-sets, and values. The key factors to success include agency, competencies, and integrated identity.

Career and Technical Education: Five Ways that Pay Along the Way to the B.A.

In the United States, postsecondary education and training have become more necessary than ever. Completing this education and training is the new threshold one must meet for access to a middle-class life. Unlike other countries, the American career and technical education (CTE) system provides inroads to further education and college degrees; promotes career mobility as an avenue for lifelong learning; and provides retraining for workers who have seen their jobs shipped overseas or outmoded by technological advancements. This report has two parts.

Preparing a Globally Competent Workforce Through High-Quality Career and Technical Education

Teaching global competency (i.e., the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance) in a career‐focused context gives students the opportunity to acquire important skills needed for success in many careers that are part of the current economy. One promising way in which students can learn about and apply global competencies is through career and technical education (CTE).


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