CA will look to other states for career readiness answers

CA will look to other states for career readiness answers

(Calif.) After spending much of the last two years trying to invent the best way to measure student readiness for the work place, California officials appear finally willing to consider what other states are doing.

In developing a new system for measuring student and school success, the state board of education has been almost defiant in positioning the new program overall as being specific to California standards and California priorities—even at the risk of a challenge from the Trump administration.

But in a memo released last week, staff at the California Department of Education recommended that the board concede that other states—specifically Florida, Georgia and Kentucky—may have already found the answers when it comes to career readiness.

A study earlier this year identified all three of the southern states as national leaders in defining and measuring when students are ready for the workplace (see Cabinet Report, April 27, 2017).

California has earned national recognition for the development of an accountability system that is based on multiple measures. A web-based dashboard for communicating district and school performance was unveiled for the public earlier this year.

But because of a lack of valid and reliable data to back up career readiness measures, that part of the dashboard has been left incomplete. For the 2017-18 school year, workplace readiness will be measured only by the number of students at a school or district that have completed a career technical education pathway.

An advisory group that had been looking at the issue for the past year is recommending that state board begin looking at ways to collect needed data in three areas: work-based learning, internships and industry certifications.

The panel also suggests that the state consider including the following measures as part of the career readiness indicator:

  • Articulated Courses
  • State Seal of Biliteracy
  • Stand-Alone Courses
  • Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)
  • Military Courses or Acceptance to Military

The CDE also said that they would be consulting with officials in other states about career-focused accountability measures.

California is by no means alone in its struggle. A report in April from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found 15 states either have no method for measuring career readiness, or ones that they called “ambiguous.”

The university team found just 11 states with specific methods for the rating.

Georgia was found to have the most extensive approach to prepare students for the workforce that begins in first grade and intensifies through grade 12 through comprehensive in-class lessons, assessments and job trainings in 96 different career pathways.