Posted on 12/09/2014 at 12:43 PM by Liz Determan

When we try to answer the question, “What does a student need to be college and career ready?”, we sometimes get caught up in the idea that there must be one answer that fits all students.  But we know, if we really think about it, that not all students need the same education, mastery of exactly the same knowledge and skills, because they will not all be doing the same job and do not all share the same career goal.  It is the student’s career interest/goal that determines the precise knowledge and skills a student will need. 

College and career ready encompasses a wide range of postsecondary options from entering the military, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, certificates, diplomas and 2 -4 year degrees and beyond.  There are any number of opportunities for students to excel as adults through any one of these doors.  If we put the student at the center on the student, we can begin to recognize as educators, administrators, counselors and teachers that each student’s journey can be different, focusing on the knowledge and skills that will move them towards success after high school.  So what are the common qualities that prepare ALL students, no matter where they are headed after high school, with a sense of readiness for whatever lies ahead?

David Conley of the EdImagine Strategy Group (2014) identifies them in four key areas:

 

Key Cognitive Strategies

Key Content Knowledge

Key Learning Skills

& Techniques

Key Transition

Knowledge & Skills

Think

Know

Act

Go

Problem Formulation

Hypothesize

Strategize

 

Research

Identify

Collect

 

Interpretation

Analyze

Evaluate

 

Communicate

Organize

Construct

 

Precision & Accuracy

Monitor

Confirm

Structure of Knowledge

Key Terms & Terminology

Factual Information

Linking Ideas

Organizing Concepts

 

Attitudes Toward Learning

Content

Challenge Level

Value

Attribution

Effort

 

Technical Knowledge & Skills

Specific College & Career Readiness Standards

Ownership of Learning

Goal Setting

Persistence

Self-awareness

Motivation

Help-seeking

Progress Monitoring

Self-efficacy

 

Learning Techniques

Time Management

Test Taking Skills

Note Taking Skills

Memorization/Recall

Strategic Reading

Collaborative Learning

Technology

Contextual

Aspirations

Norms/Culture

 

Procedural

Institution Choice

Admission Process

 

Financial

Tuition

Financial Aid

 

Cultural

Postsecondary Norms

 

Personal

Self-advocacy in an Institutional Context

 

Whether we agree with Conley’s four key areas or not, I sincerely like the question he asks, one that we should be able to answer:

If these are the things we need to focus on for all students, how do we establish “a system of assessments that provide as much information as possible to inform learners of their standing in relation to their aspirations and to facilitate student-centered decisions about their readiness?”

 

Do you have an answer?

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