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Few States Have Defined Career Readiness


November 4, 2013


Few States Have Defined Career Readiness

How are states defining career readiness? According to a new report from the Center on Education Policy, based on a survey of CTE leaders in 46 states (including the District of Columbia), not many are defining it at all.  Only 14 states have a statewide definition of career readiness, and in only 3 of these states is the definition distinct from the definition of college readiness. Twenty states are in the process of developing a definition of career readiness.

Here are further highlights from the survey:

  • When it comes to the components of career readiness--defined here as applied academics, technical skills and employability skills, which is very similar to ACTE's definition--states are most likely to assess for applied academics (36 states) and least likely to assess for employability skills (28 states).
  • States are most commonly using the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery as well as WorkKeys and NOCTI assessments to test employability skills and/or applied academics.
  • States are most commonly using industry-based or licensing exams, NOCTI assessments and SkillsUSA assessments to test technical skills.
  • States are more likely to use career readiness assessments for federal reporting requirements (38 states) than for school accountability (21 states) or student accountability (19 states). Ten states use career readiness assessments for all three purposes.
  • Almost all of the states reported challenges in assessing career readiness. The most common challenge was funding, followed by getting data from third-party exam providers and identifying or implementing high-quality assessments.

The report concludes by considering the impact of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on defining and assessing career readiness. States responding to the survey indicated that it was too soon to tell if or how the CCSS will impact career readiness.

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