Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core


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EPICenter Blog

Follow news on college and career readiness and the Educational Policy Improvement Center at the EPICenter blog.

Does Common Mean the Same? Implementing State Standards and Assessments Equitably and Fairly

Dr. David Conley explores the Common Core State Standards and the attendant assessments by state consortia and suggests strategies that will result in the most students being ready for postsecondary educational success. This article appeared in State Educational Standard, a publication of the National Association of State Boards of Education.

Bridging the Gap: An Illinois Toolkit for Using the Common Core for Secondary and Postsecondary Alignment, 2012

This toolkit guides educational leaders in using the Common Core State Standards to create curricula aligned to college and career readiness expectations. The document serves to support secondary–postsecondary partnerships working to incorporate the Standards into current practices.

Discuss the Four Keys to College and Career Readiness

Review and discuss the four keys model. Refer to table 3.1 , which contains the forty-one aspects of the model.

Develop Student Interventions using the Readiness Continuum

Informally rate the readiness of graduating seniors. Approximately what percentage are at each level of readiness? Develop three interventions to move more students from job and work ready to career pathway and postsecondary ready.

Discuss Dr. Conley’s Definition of College and Career Ready

Discuss Dr. Conley’s definition of college and career ready. What are the implications of thinking about readiness as sufficient knowledge and skills for students to pursue their aspirations? What are the drawbacks of this definition?

Determine if Tracking is in Academic Courses

Determine if tracking, formal or informal, is present in academic courses and how such practices affect student aspirations.

Review the Physical Design of Your School

Look at a blueprint or map of your school campus. Do you see evidence, either historical or recent, of the separation of vocational and college track students built into the physical design of your school?

Explore the Degree of Consensus around College and Career Readiness

Explore the degree of consensus in the school on the need for all students to be college and career ready.

Review What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready?

Visit the National Center on Education and the Economy ’s report, What Does It Really Mean to Be College and Work Ready? (

Analyze Student Outcomes in 9th Grade Algebra

Analyze your school’s data on student outcomes in ninth-grade algebra, subsequent course-taking decisions, and college matriculation. How does failing ninth-grade algebra limit future student options, particularly their ability to pursue STEM careers?

Explore Further the Idea that Readiness has a Component that Relates to Student Aspirations and Interests

Explore further the idea that readiness has a component that relates to student aspirations and interests. What types of program models might allow students to explore interests without having to make an irrevocable choice about career?

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