Measures of College and Career Readiness

College and Career Ready

Educators working together in California continue to make great progress in deciding how College and Career Readiness may be used as a future measure of school performance. The frameworks provided in recent reports can support the work of local schools and school districts as local guides and recommendations for accountability and continuous improvement are developed and implemented.

Career Technical Education (CTE) in California continues to evolve as consensus among educational leaders informs our elected officials and their appointed representatives on the State Board of Education (SBE).  A major component of the emerging state accountability system is the development of a College and Career Indicator (CCI) that will be one of the measures to satisfy the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirement for an indicator for school quality or student success.

Implementation of the new accountability system and the CCI is slated for the 2017-18 school year, pending SBE approval. The proposed CCI contains multiple measures to account for the various pathways by which high school students may prepare for postsecondary options, including participation in dual enrollment courses, success on college entrance and Advance Placement exams, completion of California’s “a-g” college entrance requirements, and completion of CTE pathway programs.

EdSource recently released an interesting article on the challenges policy makers face in developing appropriate measures of college and career readiness. Going a bit deeper into the topic, here are two recent reports that help frame the current policy initiatives and options that may influence your future work: Preparing All Students for College, Career, Life, and Leadership in The 21st Century.

This report, issued by the Superintendent’s Advisory Task Force on Accountability and Continuous Improvement, puts the proposed accountability system on three pillars: Performance, Equity, and Improvement.  According to the report: “California has started on a pathway towards the creation of a better system for our students, one that rests on a foundation of student success, relies on high standards, more equitable distributes resources (through the Local Control Funding Formula), and trusts local educators and communities to design the educational structures and supports that our students need to reach their full potential (through the Local Control and Accountability Plans.”

The report links a set of performance indicators to the ESSA requirements, and describes the College and Career Readiness indicator that a “Whole Child Outcome” perspective with the following note: “A non-test-based indicator of college and career readiness should measure the extent to which students complete courses and programs (completion of A-G, high-quality CTE sequences and internships) that support college and career readiness and the development of 21st Century skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and creativity. This could be reviewed in conjunction with other academic indicators as a means for holistically measuring the skills and abilities students need to be college and career ready.

From an “Academic Outcome” perspective, the recommended College, career, and life readiness indicators include: 1) Students completing A-G; approved CTE sequence; or both and 2) Students meeting college standard on AP / IB / dual credit coursework. If completion of A-G, approved CTE sequences or AB / IB / dual credit coursework are not included in the state required college and career readiness indicator, they could be included in the Academic Outcome area.

Equitable Access By Design

This report, released last month by the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, examines the Linked Learning conceptual framework for defining and implementing a system of integrated student supports to provide all students equitable access to college and career readiness.

The Linked Learning Pathways approach is intentionally designed to provide universal access to a rigorous, standards-based curriculum and to graduate all students fully prepared for college, career, and civic engagement. The report highlights the integration of “5 Domains of Learning & Support” which are: Technical Learning, Workplace Learning, College and Career Knowledge, Social and Emotional Learning, and Academic Learning.

The California Economic Summit (Summit) released its 2016 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity today, highlighting a set of ambitious goals—the One Million Challenges—that will be vital to expanding sustainable economic growth in every part of California. The updated 2016 report identified workforce development as one of the three essential areas where progress must be accelerated for California to thrive in the next decade.

For three years, the Summit has supported investments in career technical education – and better alignment between workforce training programs and employers. To ensure more young people are getting the skills they need, the Summit will support the formation of regional civic organizations dedicated to accelerating implementation of Task Force proposals. These organizations will have three functions:

  1. Align public and private partners on goals, strategies, and metrics to help young Californians be prepared for meaningful careers.
  2. Encourage coordination and effectiveness – and create accountability for results – to meet the needs of students and employers.
  3. Develop and advocate for incentives that drive improvements in programs and improve job placements.

The Summit report was informed by the work of the Strong Workforce Task Force that conducted regional college conversations, town hall meetings and task force meetings over the past year. See the following reports for more information on how regional collaboration and pathways development are critical to the success of the Summit’s goals:

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