COLLEGE&CAREERREADINESS&SUCCESSCenteratAmerican Institutes for ResearchOVERVIEW:STATE DEFINITIONSOFCOLLEGE ANDCAREER READINESSSEPTEMBER 2014
COLLEGE&CAREERREADINESS&SUCCESSCenteratAmerican Institutes for ResearchOverview: State Definitions ofCollege and Career ReadinessSEPTEMBER 2014Anne Mishkind
Overview: State Definitions of College and Career Readiness1The purpose of this overview is to highlight select common elements ofstate definitions of “college and career readiness.” Although preparingstudents for postgraduation opportunities has long been a priority forstates, districts, and schools, a burgeoning global economy andongoing labor market shifts call for renewed attention to the readinessrequirements for student success in this changing postsecondarylandscape. The current domestic workforce demands employees whocan fill middle-and high-skills jobs that require a combination of technicaland academic skills (Carnevale, Smith, & Strohl, 2010). However,employers struggle to find such qualified workers (Organisation forEconomic Co-operation and Development, 2013). A definition of collegeand career readiness can help build an understanding of what theseskills are, by highlighting the knowledge, skills, and dispositions oflearners who are prepared for postsecondary success. In addition, thesedefinitions can guide educators’ efforts to identify which students areon track to succeed in the economy of the 21st century.Recent widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards orother similar standards in English language arts and mathematics hasfurthered the conversation about what prepared students look like.The adoption of these standards and the Next Generation ScienceStandards are designed to set higher expectations for critical thinking,problem-solving, and collaborative skills across a range of academicsubjects. As these standards create a set of academic expectations forcollege and career readiness, definitions of college and career readinesscan reinforce these goals and set similar expectations in other areas ofstudent performance. In addition, definitions can play an essential rolein guiding states’ efforts to achieve their visions for college and careerreadiness to ensure that students receive the multidimensionalpreparation necessary for success in the global economy.Two Types of DefinitionsTo date, 36 states and the District of Columbia have definitions ofcollege and career readiness.1The College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center’sanalysis breaks down these 37 definitions to examine the componentswith potential impact on college and career readiness.In 33 of the 37 states with definitions, a single definition is used todescribe both college readiness and career readiness. Examples from1This information was gathered from state documents, state websites, and Elementaryand Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility requests. In the text that follows, D.C.