Developing and Using a Definition of College and Career Readiness: A Practical Primer for States

More of America's students will need to achieve some post-secondary education for a successful future in the workplace and society. Students need to graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills to complete a post-secondary education. For states and stakeholders, this paper serves to: (1) understand what college and career ready (CCR) means (e.g., standards, assessment scores, course taking requirements, grade point averages, and earning college credit); (2) develop a statewide definition of CCR; and (3) use this definition to inform public policy and specific strategies and actions.

Content Comments 

This is a practical guidance document for a state that wants to develop its own definition for college and career readiness (CCR). The main premise of this document is: “as states move forward with the implementation of the CCSS, defining what it means to be college and career ready and then aligning the education system firmly behind that definition is a critical step” (p. 48). This paper presents several definitions of CCR from different organizations, but it stresses that that most effective definitions are those that are developed collaboratively among multiple interest groups within the state. This guidance document presents steps on who to involve, examples of process approaches of different states that have created their own definitions, guidelines and examples for implementing the definition to achieve CCR. Although lengthy, this document has useful information and provides companion worksheets to help states define CCR for their purposes.