In May 2014, Achieve and Advance CTE (as NASDCTEc) released Making Career Readiness Count, the first analysis of the use of career-focused indicators in states’ reporting and accountability systems to increase understanding and catalyze action through guidance and recommendations for states to take steps to ensure that the “career” in their CCR accountability and public reporting system is not an afterthought but rather a powerful lever for success.
This report was timely and influential, cited in the Career Ready Act of 2015, introduced by Senator Kaine, which then became an amendment to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), as well as the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Career Readiness Task Force report, Options and Opportunities: Making Career Preparation Work for Students, which was endorsed by 41 states.
Since the original release of Making Career Readiness Count, two significant events have occurred that are pushing states to take a closer look at their accountability systems to better capture a broader range of college and career readiness outcomes for students: the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now known as ESSA) and the launch of the New Skills for Youth initiative, a competitive grant program, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co, which requires participating states to transform their systems – including state accountability systems –to support high-quality career-focused education for all students.
It is within this environment that Achieve and Advance CTE have partnered again to release How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update. This new report provides state-by-state information on how and which career-ready indicators states are including in their reporting and accountability systems, and highlights promising practices in several states at the forefront of this work. It also raises some important areas for consideration as states begin or refine their focus on career readiness.
Findings in Brief
- Thirty-four states publicly report and/or include career-focused indicators in their accountability systems, an increase from the 29 states reported in 2014
- Thirty-two states currently publicly report on at least one indicator of career readiness for high school students, the majority of which report on dual enrollment participation or success or postsecondary enrollment.
- Twenty states, include some measure of career readiness in their accountability formulas or as bonus points, with dual enrollment participation or success and industry-recognized credentials the most common indicators.
- Over half of states with career-ready indicators in their accountability systems utilize “meta-indicators” or composite measure of college and career readiness or career readiness that may include components such as AP, IB, or dual enrollment. As a result, it can be very difficult to ascertain how much weight or value career-ready indicators have within states’ accountability systems.
Read How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update and read Making Career Readiness Count for critical background information.
Kate Blosveren, Deputy Executive Director