Photo of the road ahead.August 2014
Links updated, June 2016

The Parent Center network has a common list of 14 priority topics to address. This list comes to us from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education.

This Hub page focuses on the priority topic of college and career readiness. This is a priority topic for all young people, not just those with disabilities, so below you’ll find a mix of general information resources and those that are disability-related. Items marked with ** are designed to be parent-friendly. Please do let us know if you find these resources helpful in addressing this priority area.

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What is College and Career Readiness?

“College and career readiness” is a current hot topic in the education community and the nation at large. It’s very important that students have a broad range of skills once they leave public school, including:

  • knowledge and skills in English and math, as set forth in the Common Core State Standards initiative currently underway;
  • social, emotional, and academic competencies; and
  • knowledge of the diverse range of postsecondary options available to them.

The college and career readiness skills that each student needs are directly tied to their individual postsecondary goals for college and career. Where are they going? What will they need to know how to do when they get there? Will they be ready?

That’s what college and career readiness is all about.

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Check Out These Resources First!

What are the “anchor standards” of college and career readiness?  **
You’ll love this website, whose tagline is “A non-freaked out approach to the Common Core State Standards.” Here, the anchors of readiness for college or career are explained in simple, straightforward (non-freaked-out) terms.

College and career readiness 101.
This document gives an overview of legislative and best-practice initiatives around college and career readiness. It includes a description of the development of Common Core State Standards, including funded assessment development systems. It highlights instructional activities in which high school students may demonstrate proficiency of the CCSS through transition-focused curricula. A table provides a summary of college and career ready initiatives adopted by each state.

Defining college and career readiness: A resource guide.
This resource guide synthesizes information collected through a review of more than 70 organizations focused on college and career readiness. The guide includes:

  • A snapshot of how various organizations are framing their college and career readiness discussion in terms of outcomes, where those outcomes overlap, and prevalence of those outcomes
  • A compilation of definitions from organizations that have developed explicit language around what college and career readiness means for their work
  • A selection of college and career frameworks as examples of how college and career readiness can be approached

Goals and expectations for college and career readiness: What should students know and be able to do?
This brief summarizes the goals and expectations of college and career readiness that have been collected and organizes this information into three key threads: (a) Core Content; (b) Pathways Content; (c) Lifelong Learning Skills. Along with a brief description of each thread, key components are highlighted and examples of each type of goal and expectation are provided.

Planning for success: Supporting transitions through high school to college and career.  **  This  40-page booklet is written by parents for other parents, to share their experiences in preparing their children for college and career. They discuss why preparing is so important, describe the academic and personal behaviors young people need, take a look at the Common Core State Standards and testing, and much more. A publication of the NYC Board of Education.

Improving college and career readiness for students with disabilities.
This issue brief is intended to assist state policymakers in better understanding strategies to prepare students with disabilities and special needs for college and career. The brief provides context and background on the numbers of students with disabilities who are college and career ready; examines issues related to preparation and readiness for postsecondary education and careers; and includes examples of current programs and policies that help students with disabilities to successfully transition to college and career.

Visit the College and Career Readiness and Success Center.
It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help states and other CCRS stakeholders better inform, align, and support efforts to ensure that all students are ready for success in college and careers. Lots of on-target info here!

PARCC assessments and students with disabilities.  **
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states that have developed student assessments aligned with the new Common Core State Standards. Multiple resources are available in English and Spanish for parents, to help them understand the PARCC assessments, the accessibility features they include for students with disabilities and English language learners, and much more. There are practice tests, help in understanding children’s scores, and guidance on how to prepare students for the PARCC.

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What’s Going on in Your State?

Definitions of college and career readiness: An analysis by state.
Across the nation, state education leaders are developing definitions of “college and career readiness.” This brief provides an analysis of state college and career readiness definitions and organizes them into 10 actionable categories that can be used by districts and schools to develop their college- and career-ready programs.

CCRS interactive state map.
The CCRS Center has developed this interactive state map to present the broad landscape of college and career readiness throughout the nation. The map provides a simple-to-navigate snapshot of key college and career readiness initiatives taking place throughout the states, including:

  • the Advanced Placement (AP) Incentive program;
  • career and technical education (CTE) and CTE programs of study;
  • dual enrollment and early college high schools; s
  • tate longitudinal data systems (SLDS);
  • the national policy landscape and secondary and postsecondary alignment.

States participating in the PARRC assessments.
Which states are participating in the PARRC? Who’s the state lead in each? Find out here.

States participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.
Have a look at the member states and find out the contact information for the state lead.

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What about Assessment?

There are many discussions going on about how to assess students’ college and career readiness. So part of the conversation about CCRS are standards, and part is assessment. This small section hooks you up with materials and information coming out of the several consortia working on assessments.

What’s PARRC?
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states that have developed student assessments aligned with the  Common Core State Standards.  Also listed above, check out the parent resources page, and connect with materials 0that discuss and describe the accessibility features that have been included in PARCC assessments to ensure that students with disabilities and English language learners receive the accommodations they need. There are even practice tests!

What’s the Smarter Balanced Assessment System?
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is developing a system of assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English and math. The system includes both summative assessments for accountability purposes and optional interim assessments for instructional use. Find out how the assessment system will support learners with disabilities and English language learners. There are also multiple resources in Spanish.

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What about Alternate Assessments?

What does college and career readiness mean for students with significant cognitive disabilities, especially when you talk about assessing a student’s readiness? Here are several resources that can help answer that question—and many more.

Visit the National Center and State Collaborative.
The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) is a project led by five centers and 24 states working to build an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The goal of the NCSC project is to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options.

Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Alternate Assessment Consortia.
DLM is a group of 13 states developing an alternative assessment system. The DLM alternate assessment system is designed to let students with significant cognitive disabilities show what they know in ways that traditional multiple-choice tests cannot.  By integrating assessment with instruction during the year and providing a year-end assessment, the DLM system maps student learning aligned with college and career readiness standards in English language arts and mathematics.

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Resources in Other Languages

Video in Spanish | Explaining the college and career readiness standards.
This 3-minute video in Spanish explains how the college and career ready state standards will help students achieve at high levels and help them learn what they need to know to get to graduation and beyond. From the Arizona Department of Education.

In Korean and Spanish | Texas’ college and career readiness standards, explained.
These materials may describe Texas’ CCRS, but they’ll be helpful to those in other states, too. The materials describe what students must know and be able to do to succeed in entry-level courses offered at institutions of higher education. Available in Spanish and Korean. There are also audio and video clips!

In Spanish | About the Common Core State Standards.
El Council of the Great City Schools ha desarrollado guías para padres que describen el contenido académico principal para cada grado en las áreas de matemáticas, lectura, escritura y en las habilidades en comprensión y expresión oral.  Las guías contienen consejos para colaborar con los maestros de sus hijos e ideas de cómo usar oportunidades en su vida cotidiana para apoyar el aprendizaje de sus hijos.

In Spanish | The Smarter Balanced Assessment System.
Este enlace le lleva a una página de recursos en español, los cuales explican el sistema y describen los apoyos y acomodaciones para los estudiantes con discapacidades y los que están aprendiendo el inglés.

Multiple language translations about the Common Core State Standards.
Courtesy of the California Department of Education’s Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents (CMD).  These fact sheets about the CCSS are available in: Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Farsi (Persian), Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Khmer (Cambodian), Korean , Lao, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.   Note that they are posted online with this alert: “CMD translations may be downloaded by schools, districts, and county offices; customized to meet local needs; edited to remove CMD document information; and then disseminated to parents. The CDE recommends that LEAs first confer with local translators, however, to determine any need for modifications, as there can be many variations in translation.”

Have a resource you’d like to recommend?
It’s hard to find information in other languages about how to use data to inform instruction. If you know of a resource that’d be helpful to other Parent Centers and the families they serve, please share the news with Lisa Küpper, product development coordinator, at the CPIR: Thanks!

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Don’t Forget to Search the Hub!!

Since this Priority Page was originally created and last updated, we’ve added additional “College and Career Readiness” resources to the Hub library. These are easy to find! Just use these two links:

Newest resources on Career Readiness:

Newest resources on College Readiness:

Each page of search results will have a SORT BY drop-down menu above the resources listed. Set the drop-down to “Date (Newest).” And there you’ll have the latest resources on college and career readiness!
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