Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core


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College, Careers, and the Common Core Bookcover

TAG: Key Learning Skills & Techniques

Use Pinterest to Collect Research, Concepts, and to Catalogue Colleges or Careers

Have students use the online site Pinterest to collect sources for research, visualize a new concept, or catalogue colleges or careers they are interested in.

Identify Your School’s Percentage of Students without Postsecondary Education Aspirations

What percentage of students in your school do not aspire to a postsecondary education? Are any data collected on why they don’t?

Develop Student Assignments around Their Interests and Postsecondary Programs

Develop assignments that require students to do research on their interests and on postsecondary programs. For example, students could be required to do a research paper each year on college options and the cost of pursuing an option of interest to them. Online sites such as Naviance ( and Big Future ( provide many free resources to help students complete such assignments.

Construct a Research Project Using O*net Data

Construct a research project where students collect information on three different jobs to report on the necessary qualifications (e.g., training, education, skills), job market outlook and salary predictions, and the day-to-day experience using O*net data on

Have Students Present on Their Interests and Career or Educational Pathways

Have students orally present on their interests in relation to different career or educational pathways (

Gather Educators to Discuss Student Ownership of Learning

Gather a small group of educators and guidance counselors to discuss the following question: What does it looks like, in concrete, observable ways, when students take ownership of their learning? What are three steps the school can take to increase student ownership of learning?

Review the Raikes Foundation Inventory of Social-Emotional Learning Assessment Tools

Review the Raikes Foundation inventory of social-emotional learning assessment tools (

Expose All Students to the Principles and Techniques of Speech and Debate

Reinstitute speech and debate if the program has been eliminated. If this is not feasible, build opportunities for speech and debate into English language arts courses, and expose all students to the principles and techniques of speech and debate.

Have Students Create Videos as a Means to Demonstrate Speaking Skills

Have students create videos as a means to demonstrate speaking skills. Have students in the class listen to the videos as a way to improve their listening skills.

Use CampusReady to Gauge Students’ Aspiration Levels

Use CampusReady, which is described in the appendix, to gauge the aspiration levels of students and the general overall attitudes toward academic achievement.

Think of Interventions to Improve Student Ownership of Learning

Which students are most successful and least successful in taking ownership of their learning? Are the expectations that students do so different for some groups of students? Think of three simple interventions that would improve ownership of learning without requiring major program redesign or staff training.

Have Students Set Goals in Three Time Frames: Short term, Medium term, and Long Term

Have students set goals in three time frames: short term, medium term, and long term. Short-term goals are those they can do immediately (e.g., improve study habits by devoting more time to studying). Medium-term goals may span a course or academic year (e.g., improve writing skills or get a 3 or better on an AP exam). Long-term goals relate to aspirations (e.g., prepare to become a commercial pilot, attend a four-year college locally). Collect and categorize their goals to see what they tell about the students and how their goals can be supported.

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