Schools define college and career readiness

Meaning of 'college and career ready' differs across nation's districts
By: | Issue: April, 2015
March 17, 2015

The phrase “college and career readiness” invades education discussions from classroom technology to the Common Core.

But what does it mean for a student to be college and career ready, and based on what indicators? Now, 32 states and the District of Columbia have called for the development and adoption of a statewide college and career readiness definition, according to the 2014 policy analysis “Blueprint for college readiness” from the Education Commission of the States.

Some definitions are as short as one sentence, while others are pages long, the analysis found. The most common elements found in the definition were academic knowledge, skills and assessment scores.

While each state definition is unique, the analysis identified key policy goals most commonly stated in these policies, including:

Reinforcing and aligning with the Common Core State Standards and other college and career standards
Increasing collaboration between K12 and higher education institutions, to give administrators a better idea of what skills students will need to continue their education
Addressing the remedial needs observed by higher education and employers
Providing a benchmark to help all teachersÑeven in elementary schoolÑunderstand the knowledge and skills students will need to demonstrate college and career readiness by high school graduation.

“A statewide definition can serve as a critical touchstone for K12, higher education and the workforce,” the report states. “Ultimately, the purpose of the definition is to address the gap between high school and the expectations of higher education or the needs of an employer.”