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Four Keys Reference Guide

Many educators, families, and students are taking a hard look at the current educational system in the United States and finding there is a significant gap between what is and what ought to be if we want our country to succeed in the 21st century. The Four Keys to College and Career Readiness (the Four Keys) provides a framework and common language to use as we work to close this gap by developing systems that support all students as they prepare for the future.

SouthCarolina_Toolkit

South Carolina College and Career Readiness Toolkit

The South Carolina College and Career Readiness Toolkit was designed to foster conversation among leaders from school districts and higher education about what it means to be college and career ready, and to help develop action plans for new and strengthened partnerships. The Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness (the Center) worked with the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) to develop these materials in support of statewide comprehensive planning efforts. The toolkit has some information specific to South Carolina, but can serve as a model for all states and districts wishing to implement a comprehensive college and career readiness action plan.

Policy Brief: More Than One C

More Than One C: Educating Students to Be Ready for Careers and College

This policy brief from EPIC discusses the United State’s bias toward college-going as the gold standard and how to counteract that singular mode of thinking. EPIC outlines why definitions of K–12 success should balance an emphasis on each C (college and career). EPIC also shows the related pitfalls of districts failing to attend to the issues that are most salient for their communities. To avoid those dangers, EPIC recommends democratizing postsecondary pathway access to ensure equity, localizing districts’ definitions of success to suit community needs, and personalizing educational experiences so students can become ready on their own terms.

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Essential Skills and Dispositions: Developmental Frameworks for Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Self-Direction

This set of developmental frameworks was created to facilitate discussion within communities of practice and to enhance a shared understanding of the dynamic nature of four essential skills—collaboration, communication, creativity, and self-direction in learning. The frameworks define components inherent to each skill and describe performance across a beginner to emerging expert progression, informed by research on the development of expertise. Unlike discipline-specific learning progressions and rubrics, the developmental progressions reflect components essential to the skill itself and describe growth dependent on many years of active exploration, experimentation, setbacks, and reflection.

Defining a New North Star: Aligning LCAPs to College and Career Readiness

In this policy brief, EPIC recommends that college and career readiness serve as the “North Star” in California’s recently reformed accountability system. A district seeking to use its Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to promote a college- and career-going culture should take the following steps:

• Adopt, modify, or generate a consistent and shared definition of college and career readiness.
• Evaluate the current LCAP for alignment to that definition.
• Revise the LCAP to align with college and career readiness as its new North Star.

By following these steps, district leaders will help ensure that the goals and actions outlined in their LCAP describe a coherent system instead of a collection of eight competing priorities.

Measures for a College and Career Indicator: Final Report (cover image)

Measures for a College and Career Indicator: Final Report

In 2012, California Senate Bill 1458 added a measure of college and career preparedness to the Academic Performance Index (API). The Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee was charged with making recommendations to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education regarding measures that could serve as indicators of college and career preparedness at the high school level. EPIC was commissioned to evaluate potential measures identified by the Committee.

New Conceptions of College and Career Ready Report Cover

New Conceptions of College and Career Ready

A college and career ready student possesses the content knowledge, strategies, skills, and techniques necessary to be successful in any of a range of postsecondary setting. Success is defined as the ability to complete entry-level courses at a level of performance that is sufficient to enable students to continue to the next courses in their chosen field of study. Not every student needs exactly the same knowledge and skills to be college and career ready. A student’s college and career interests help identify the precise knowledge and skills the student needs.

A New Era for Educational Assessment Cover

A New Era for Educational Assessment

The goal of this paper is to present a vision for a new system of educational assessment, one designed to support the kinds of ambitious teaching and learning that parents say they want for their children. Thankfully, the public schools do not have to create such a system from scratch—many schools already exhibit effective practices upon which others can build. For that to happen though, educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders must be willing to adopt new ways of thinking about the role of assessment in education.