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AASA campaign seeks to broaden what college, career readiness means

February 23rd, 2016

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A new set of indicators will help shed light on how students can be college- and career-ready

A new campaign launched at AASA’s national conference seeks to redefine what it means to be college- and career-ready through a set of readiness indicators that use multiple measurements to determine success.

The Redefining Ready! campaign indicators paint a more accurate representation of students’ potential. In addition to ACT and SAT benchmarks, the indicators include Advanced Placement success, dual credits, internship hours, career clusters, student attendance, community service and more.

“America’s high schools are filled with innovators—students who are driven by ideas and inspired by innovations,” said AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech. “That’s why it’s critical for our high school graduates to demonstrate readiness for college and careers. We are looking forward to receiving stories and additional research from AASA members in support of this campaign.”

“For too long, the public education system has relied on standardized test scores as the primary indicator for college and career readiness,” said AASA President David R. Schuler, the superintendent of High School District 214 in northwest suburban Chicago. “But our students are more than a score.”

Redefining Ready! is being endorsed by educators and organizations across the country. The Board of Education of High School District 214, the second-largest high school district in Illinois, was the first local Board of Education to endorse the campaign CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) was the first national organization to support the effort.

“Today’s education technologies, when supported by the right polices and leadership, enable school systems to truly personalize learning,” said Keith Krueger, CEO, CoSN. “It is therefore imperative that current and future student assessments are in sync with America’s transformational, digital environments. We stand ready to work with our long-standing partner AASA on this important mission to ‘redefine ready’ for America’s next generation of innovators.”

“We cannot shortchange the potential of our students – a generation of innovators who are ready and willing to compete in the global economy of the 21st century,” Schuler said. “Our new set of readiness indicators will open up the doors for more students to pursue their post-secondary goals with confidence.”

According to ACT, out of 1.9 million test takers nationally, only 59 percent of the 2015 high school graduates were deemed college ready.

In Schuler’s district, only 47 percent of the Class of 2015 met all four college readiness benchmarks on the ACT. A broader multi-measure approach indicates that 79 percent of these graduates are ready for college-level coursework.

In fact, 90 percent of graduates from the high-performing District 214 pursue a post-secondary education either at a two or four-year university and many more enter the workforce after graduation.

“It’s time for us to change the conversation around readiness to reflect today’s educational landscape,” said Schuler.

Domenech and Schuler encourage AASA members to take the indicators back to their school boards for adoption and to work together to gain national support for this new definition of readiness.

“This is the first time since the 1983 report A Nation at Risk came out where we can get everyone in the education world together to come around a common definition that provides more opportunities for today’s students,” Schuler said. “Our educators must play a critical role in shaping policy that impacts the students we have dedicated our careers to serving.”

Education advocates can add their voice of support by visiting the campaign website, www.redefiningready.org.

About the Author:

Material from a press release was used in this report.