No relation to Common Core

While the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will help shape curriculum, instruction, and assessment for all students in 45 states (including D.C.), according to the survey, which included 40 of those adopting states, the CCSS have had “little impact thus far on career and technical assessments.”

Survey respondents in just 11 states reported that their career readiness assessments have been aligned or are currently being aligned to CCSS. Respondents in 20 states said it was too soon to know whether or how their career and technical assessments might change in response to the new standards.

“Some of this uncertainty about the impact of the Common Core may be related to the huge variety of career and technical education assessments being used and the nature of some of these assessments,” said Jennifer McMurrer, co-author of the report. “The specific technical skills assessed by an industry certification exam or a state- or locally-developed assessment linked to a particular career pathway would be inherently different from the broader skills that all students should have to be career-ready.”

According to the report, the College- and Career-Ready Determination (CCRD) policy states that the PARCC assessments (one of two assessments developed by state consortia for the CCSS) are designed to measure academic preparedness for postsecondary education, “not all of the skills needed to be career-ready.”

The survey also includes information about how states use the results of career and technical assessments.

A majority (38) of responding states reported using these results to meet the federal accountability requirements of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act, but fewer than half of the survey states use these results for school accountability (21 states) and/or student accountability (19 states).

Only a few states (4) permit students to substitute scores on career and technical assessments for scores on the high school exit exams that students must pass in some states to receive a diploma.

Challenges for states

“States are facing quite a few challenges with their assessments systems—even those states that have defined what it means for a high school graduate to be career- and work-ready,” said McMurrer.

Nearly all of the survey states (45) are experiencing some type of challenges in assessing high school students’ career readiness or technical and employability skills. The most commonly cited challenges include funding the assessments, getting assessment results from third party providers, and defining which career education and career readiness standards should be assessed.

For information on how CTE assessments are funded, how states define career readiness, how states use their specific assessments, state challenges, and assessment profiles, visit the report’s main page.

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