o-GRADUATION-CAP-facebookWhat is the meaning of “college readiness”?

The rapid advancement of “e-learning” or online learning over the past five years provides a glimpse into the future of traditional learning. Educational technology (an alternate term often used in place of “e-learning”) includes many types of information delivery based on technology application and processes. E-learning can take place either in a classroom, by supplementing the traditional learning approach with computer-based learning, or out of the classroom in any location that provides Internet access to e-learning platforms and products. A wide array of E-learning opportunities are currently available for both K-12 and secondary education uses.

At the K-12 level (and particularly the 9-12 years), one of the primary goals of any educational system, including e-learning and home-schooling, is “college and career readiness.” As part of the American Diploma Project Network (http://www.achieve.org/ADPNetwork) thirty-five states have endorsed the “readiness” goal. Historically speaking, in 2009, when the U. S. Department of Education released the first official draft of the college-and-career readiness standards for English-language arts and mathematics, the United States’ 9th Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, commented that “there is no work more important than preparing our students to compete and succeed in a global economy.” (http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/09/09212009a.html)

While it may be easy to agree that “college and career readiness” is an important benchmark for all K-12 education providers, it is not as easy to define what the idea means. Various state boards of education, universities and other institutions of education define “readiness” in different ways. For example, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) defines college readiness as “the combination of skills, knowledge, and habits of mind necessary to fully participate in college-level courses …to completion” (http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/_e-assesscollegereadiness.aspx ). Similarly, on March 3, 2014, the California Department of Education issued a news release outlining a “Guidance for Teachers and Schools as They Prepare Students for Career and College” (http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr14/yr14rel22.asp). At the same time, according to the College and Career Readiness and Success Center (http://www.ccrscenter.org/ccrs-landscape/state-profile/new-york) as of 2013, New York State had not adopted or made available a definition of college and career readiness.

Overall, college and career readiness is often based on school district and school-specific needs assessments and programs. Once these assessments are analyzed, services are designed and implemented to fit those needs. It’s a good idea to check with your local school district to learn how “readiness” is defined in your particular area. For an overall view of what college readiness means, the ACT website provides a useful subject-by-subject listing of ACT readiness standards at http://www.act.org/standard/ .