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Teacher Amarryn Huelsman leads a class in the biomedical pathway at STEM Academy of Hollywood. Huelsman is also a certified emergency medical technician.

Citing a lack of current data to measure how well high schools prepare students for careers, state officials have scrapped a key piece of California’s initial College and Career Readiness Indicator.

At this week’s State Board of Education meeting, Department of Education officials are expected to present an updated metric that doesn’t include a process for measuring the highest tier of students ready for college and careers.

The College and Career Readiness Indicator, or CCI, is meant to evaluate students by their Advanced Placement test scores — whether they’re concurrently enrolled in community colleges, whether they have completed a career technical education pathway or whether they have completed courses required for University of California and California State University admission.

The CCI is part of the state’s overall effort to create a new school accountability system that is based on multiple measures rather than primarily on test scores; the state plans to implement it for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

The initial version of the metric, presented to the board in July, placed students in one of four achievement tiers — “Well Prepared,” “Prepared,” “Approaching Prepared” and “Not Yet Prepared” — depending on the combination of college and career readiness targets they completed before graduation.

The version that will be presented Thursday includes the four achievement tiers but no longer a benchmark for how a student can become “Well Prepared,” with officials saying the state needs to develop better tools for measuring career readiness.

“In the absence of robust career data, valid and reliable career criteria for the ‘Well Prepared’ performance level cannot be determined,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a report to the board. “Proceeding with a ‘Well Prepared’ category at this time would result in an over-emphasis on college measures.”

In July, state board members criticized the early CCI model for being too focused on students’ success in college preparation. Measuring career readiness, they said, made up only a small fraction of the early version of the metric. The board unanimously approved implementation of the CCI but asked state officials to continue refining it before the metric is enacted next school year.

“In the real world, who can measure career readiness better than employers?” said Hilary McLean, executive vice president of the Linked Learning Alliance.

Torlakson said his staff would continue working with educators, researchers, business leaders and other stakeholders to develop a system to improve how to gauge career preparation among California’s high schools.

Hilary McLean, executive vice president of the Linked Learning Alliance, a statewide collaborative aimed at promoting programs that integrate academics with career experience, said the state made the right decision to refine career readiness.

“In the past, the board only considered proposals that identify students as ‘college or career ready,’” she said. “The highest tier should include criteria to measure if students are equally ready for both, not one or the other.”

McLean said tools are already available to measure career readiness. The alliance has supported standards that include measuring the percentage of students enrolled in work-based learning programs. Employers in these programs can also provide student evaluations that schools can use, McLean said.

“In the real world, who can measure career readiness better than employers?” she said.

Torlakson said in his report that state officials will further explore measures that take into account such things as career internships, work experience and earning the state Seal of Biliteracy and industry certificates. (The state does not currently track these measures consistently across districts.)

Also, the state intends to look at adding exams specifically designed to assess career skills, he said.

Here’s how students would now qualify for each achievement tier in the latest version of the CCI:

Well Prepared: To be determined

Prepared: Complete one of the following from categories 1-6:

  1. Career technical education pathway completion with “C” or better, plus one other measure below:
    • Score at Level 3 on either the math or English sections of the 11th-grade Smarter Balanced Assessment
    • Complete at least one semester of dual/concurrent enrollment in community college courses
  2. Score at Level 3 on both the math and English sections of the 11th-grade Smarter Balanced Assessment
  3. Complete two semesters of dual/concurrent enrollment in community college courses
  4. Earn a 3 or higher on at least two AP exams
  5. Pass at least two International Baccalaureate (IB) exams
  6. Complete the A-G sequence, which are the courses required for UC/CSU admission, plus one other measure below:
    • Complete a CTE Pathway
    • Score at Level 3 on either the math and English sections of the 11th-grade Smarter Balanced Assessment
    • Complete at least one semester of dual/concurrent enrollment in community college courses

Approaching Prepared: Complete one of the following from categories 1-4:

  1. Complete a CTE pathway
  2. Score at Level 2 on at least one section of the Smarter Balanced Assessments
  3. Complete one semester of dual/concurrent enrollment in community college courses
  4. Complete the A-G course sequence

Not Yet Prepared: Has not met any of the benchmarks above.

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