New Report Highlights State Definitions of "Career-Ready"

With the push for increased academic performance of America's students most education stakeholders have focused on the aspect of being "college-ready."  However, the competencies necessary to be "career-ready" may vary and individual states are grappling with defining what attributes must be mastered for a student to succeed in the workforce. The Center on Education Policy (CEP) recently released a report which shows that only 14 of the 46 states that responded to their survey have a statewide definition of what it means for high school students to be career-ready.

In the summer of 2013 CEP, located within the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University, surveyed state directors of career and technical education about career readiness definitions and the assessments used to measure those attributes.  Key findings from the responses include:

  • States and their school districts are using various assessments to gauge career readiness;
  • Local school districts or individual students pay the costs associated with taking career and technical exams;
  • More states use assessment results to meet federal reporting requirements than to apply this information for accountability purposes; 
  • Forty-five of the states reported facing challenges in assessing high school students' career education or their level of career readiness; and
  • The Common Core State Standards have had little impact so far on the way that career and technical education skills are assessed.

The report states there is great variation in how states and local school districts are defining career readiness and which assessments are being used to measure success.  It appears just as challenging to grasp which skills each assessment measures and how states and districts are using the results to ascertain student readiness.

The following states report that they have a definition for career readiness:  CO, DE, GA, KS, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NJ, ND, and VA.  Twenty states note that they are in process of creating a definition and 9 states say they simply do not have a solid definition.  The remaining 4 states (NY, TN, TX and UT) reported "other" or "don't know" to the survey question.

For more information see the report at:  http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=427

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