Posts Tagged ‘Achieve’

The Number of States Counting Career Readiness Has More than Doubled Since 2014

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

In a strong signal of support for Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness in high school, 40 states are now measuring career readiness in their state or federal high school accountability systems. Fewer than half as many – 17 – were measuring career readiness just five years ago.

The sophistication and design of the measures has evolved as well, and many states are working to intentionally link their accountability systems with high-quality career pathways.

That’s according to a new analysis from Advance CTE, Education Strategy Group, Achieve and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The report, the third edition in the Making Career Readiness Count series, uses a four-pronged framework that was developed by an expert workgroup and outlined in the report Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems  to categorize how states are measuring college and career readiness.

The four categories used in the analysis provide a blueprint for states to develop and evolve rigorous measures. They each outline three levels that build upon one another, from Fundamental, to Advanced and Exceptional. The categories are:

Overall, the most common measure used across the states is Assessment of Readiness, with thirty states and the District of Columbia valuing experiences that are aligned with the Destination Known recommendations. Another 12 states include out of sequence measures that are aligned with this indicator but do not include the Fundamental measure, attainment of state-defined college- and career-ready level on a high school summative assessment. The vast majority of states counted under the Assessment of Readiness category are measuring industry-recognized credential attainment.

Another commonly used measure is Progress Toward Post-High School Credential. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia include measures aligned with the Destination Known recommendations, and another 22 states include out of sequence indicators. A number of states include either pathway completion or dual enrollment coursework in their accountability plans without requiring that experience to be accompanied by the completion of a state-defined college- and career-ready course of study, which is the Fundamental measurement in this category.

Twelve states include a Co-Curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences measure in their state or federal accountability systems, often looking at work-based learning participation. Eight states include information on Transitions Beyond High School, reporting either postsecondary enrollment or postsecondary enrollment without the need for remediation.

With all of the progress states have made, there is still room to strengthen and improve measures of career readiness. For example, states should be explicit about how career readiness components – such as work-based learning, industry-recognized credentials and dual enrollment – align to each other and to a students’ career pathways. They should also be transparent with their data and put thought and care into designing accountability systems that value and encourage the experiences that are best aligned with the outcomes they want for students. These and other opportunities are discussed in the report, Making Career Readiness Count 3.0.

The even harder work ahead is to support all students in their preparation for and transition to college, career and life. Regardless of the path students choose to pursue, they need to be transition ready. State and federal accountability systems can and should be used to highlight areas for improvement and connect programs and students with the supports they need to be successful.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By admin in Advance CTE Resources, Public Policy, Publications, Research, Resources
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How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

In May 2014, Achieve and Advance CTE (as NASDCTEc) released Making Career Readiness Count, the first analysis of the ccrcoveruse 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

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

By admin in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Research, Resources

CTE Research Review: Leveraging CTE within Competency-Based Education

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

CBPA new brief from Achieve and NASDCTEc argues that states can and should leverage CTE when considering how to move K-12 education toward a system marked by mastery, not time. The paper, “Building a Strong Relationship between Competency-Based Pathways and Career Technical Education,” identifies the opportunities for collaboration and strengthened relationships as well the challenges of creating an integrated system.

Competency-based pathways (CBP) have the potential to open new opportunities for students to learn and demonstrate their learning in meaningful ways. To do this, students should be able to access engaging learning opportunities that are grounded in application and relevant to their career goals – a central focus of CTE. This is why state leaders should consider how to ensure that CBP and CTE systems are aligned and mutually reinforcing.

In fact, states that intentionally include CTE in their vision for CBP can use its inherently competency-based elements to help break down the classroom walls that separate academics from CTE, and by doing so, can value learning where it happens and create opportunities for teachers to collaborate and innovate.

Leverage points can include:

The brief also offers key points of consideration for states moving toward an integrated CBP system:

The brief includes state examples from Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Read more about how states are implementing CBP here.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By admin in Research
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CTE Research Review: Career Readiness for All

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

PathleasttakenThe Center for Public Education has analyzed the National Center for Education Statistics’ Education Longitudinal Study to look at a student group that is often ignored in major research studies – the one in five students who do not immediately enroll in college after graduating from high school. Be sure to check out the first installment of this research series, which looked at the characteristics of this group.

Now, CPE has released its second installment – this time attempting to gain insight into “career readiness” for high school graduates by looking at various job-related and social outcomes of this same group of non-college goers by the time they reached age 26. In fact, the data showed that “credentials” and being well prepared in high school matter, particularly for non-college goers who:

Specifically, researchers found that advanced courses, such as Algebra 2 and advanced biology, and an CTE focus can have an impact on non-college going students’ likelihood to have a good job and engage in society. If those same students earn a professional credential, then the scale shifts in favor of the non-college goer, meaning they are actually more likely to be employed, earn good wages and vote than their peers who attended college. Further, better preparation also had a greater impact on black graduates than their white and Hispanic peers, showing that higher credentials can be the key to closing the employment and wage gap.

Rising to the Challenge?

A new survey from Achieve asked college faculty and employers who teach or hire recent high school graduates about their preparedness for college and careers. This is the second release of Achieve’s Rising to the Challenge survey. The first release, from late 2014, examined recent high school graduates’ views on their own preparedness. The full survey is an update to a similar survey Achieve conducted in 2004.

The results reveal many parallels to the students’ own responses – in short, that there is a pervasive opinion that public high schools are not doing enough to prepare students for the expectations they will face in college and the workplace. Contrast those responses with those from the 2004 survey, and the picture becomes even bleaker.

All three groups – college faculty, employers and students – all agreed that to improve preparedness:

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By admin in Research
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New Report: Understanding the Skills in the Common Core State Standards

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The Common Core State Standards “provide a strong platform for students to apply and master the skills they need, and as students apply those skills, they have more opportunities to fully master the content within the CCSS,” according to a recent analysis of the standards by Achieve.

The CCSS covers most of the skills in greatest demands by employers, postsecondary institutions and society overall, according to Understanding the Skills in the Common Core State Standards. The report suggests that because the skills — working collectively, thinking critically, communicating effectively solving routine and nonroutine problems, and analyzing information and data – imparted by the CCSS are needed to excel in academic, technical and life settings.

However, the report also does note that “some skills — mostly technical or work-based in nature, such as career planning, ethical reasoning and conflict resolution skills — are simply outside the scope of the mathematics and ELA/literacy CCSS.”

The report identifies the level of preparation all students learning to the CCSS will acquire and offers insight into opportunities for Career Technical Education to help address career-focused skills. Learn more at

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager


By admin in Publications, Research
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Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series: Next Generation Science Standards for Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workforce

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Stephen L. Pruitt, Ph.D. was named Vice President of Content, Research and Development at Achieve in November of 2010. He leads the development of the Next Generation Science Standards.

While more than 45 states are working diligently to implement the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy, there is another state-led effort underway to develop common science standards, or the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). As manager of this initiative, Achieve is excited to have the opportunity to share the details of this work and engage directly with you, the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. CTE is a major stakeholder and partner in the effort to develop science standards for today’s students and tomorrow’s workforce.

About the Next Generation Science Standards
The NGSS will be K-12 science standards created through a collaborative, state-led process. To date, 26 Lead Partner States are providing leadership to the writing teams and to other states as they consider adoption of the NGSS.

The new standards are being drafted based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by the National Research Council, the staffing arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The vision laid out in the Framework identifies what students need to know and be able to do in order to be a functional citizen, which includes being scientifically literate and an effective member of the United States workforce.

Briefly, the Framework established three dimensions of scientific proficiency:
• Science and engineering practices (major practices that scientists and engineers employ as they investigate and build models and theories about the world);
• Crosscutting concepts (concepts have application across all domains of science); and
• Disciplinary core ideas (those ideas with broad importance across multiple sciences or engineering disciplines or key organizing principles of a single discipline).

The NGSS will bring this vision to life – and to K-12 classrooms.

What Do the Next Generation Science Standards Mean for CTE?
We believe the NGSS will offer excellent opportunities for stronger alignment between science and CTE instruction. While the NGSS won’t replace existing CTE courses or pathways (e.g., engineering, agriculture/life sciences), the standards can enhance CTE coursework in meaningful ways. Specifically, the NGSS can and should serve as a bridge between what science educators are teaching in their classrooms (the content) and what CTE educators are teaching in their classrooms (the applications).

This comes through most prominently in how the NGSS treat engineering, technology, and applications of science. Engineering is included in NGSS as a disciplinary core idea and as a practice (or application) that cuts across the multiple disciplines within science education. In other words, the engineering expectations are not organized in a way that suggests the development of a new stand-alone course is necessary, but rather that shows how scientific knowledge and engineering applications can intersect across the disciplines. For those schools already offering engineering courses or pathways, the NGSS can help enrich those courses, as well as provide opportunities for aligning that engineering coursework with lessons being taught in traditional science courses.

Perhaps most importantly, we see the NGSS serving as a catalyst for new conversations between science and CTE educators about how their courses can be better integrated to reflect the NGSS and relevant CTE expectations.

The Role of CTE in the NGSS Development
The CTE community is undoubtedly a valued partner in the NGSS development. Given your expertise and unique perspective on the applications of science, Achieve and the states have an ongoing commitment to ensure the CTE community is engaged throughout the entire development process. For example, CTE educators are on the writing teams and all 26 Lead State Partners have been strongly encouraged to include CTE directors, administrators, and educators on their state review teams. In addition, Achieve has engaged the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) as a critical partner in the review process as public drafts become available, and we will continue to find ways to partner throughout the development (and eventual implementation) of the NGSS.

How Can You Get Involved?
Two drafts of the NGSS will be released for public review and feedback, first in the spring of 2012 and then again in the summer/fall of 2012, before the final NGSS are released in winter 2012-13. Sign up for updates – including the windows for public feedback – at We’d love your feedback!

The Friends of CTE Guest Blog Series provides advocates – from business and industry, to researchers and organizations – an opportunity to articulate their support for Career Technical Education. The monthly series features a guest blogger who provides their perspective on and experience with CTE as it relates to policy, the economy and education.

Are you interested in being a guest blogger and expressing your support for CTE? Contact Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager, at

By admin in Resources
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