CCSSO Releases Recommendations for Valuing College and Career Readiness

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and  Education Strategy Group (ESG) have released Destination Known, a report which includes recommendations to support states as they develop accountability systems that value college and career readiness and better support all students in achieving success after high school.  

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states a critical opportunity to refine their accountability systems and ensure they have the measures in place that will lead to better outcomes for all kids – not only while in school but also beyond graduation.

“States have been working to integrate career skills with the academic skills that will ensure student success after high school,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. “Valuing college and career readiness in a state’s accountability system is one way to elevate the skills and knowledge they need to pursue high-skill, high-paying careers after high school.”

Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems provides a roadmap for the measures states can use in an accountability system to support all students in achieving success after high school, as well as strategies for putting that accountability system into practice.  

The report recommends four measures states should consider in their accountability systems:

  • Progress toward Post-High School Credential: While high school graduation is a critical indicator of student success, the courses a student takes are a much stronger predictor of future success, especially more rigorous courses considered prerequisites for postsecondary education and training.
  • Co-curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences: Extended work-based learning, internships, apprenticeships, service learning projects and other experiences allow students to apply what they learn in the classroom and develop academic, technical and professional skills outside of the classroom.
  • Assessment of Readiness: To reflect the level of performance students need to be successful after high school it is critical that states focus high school accountability on the percentage of students scoring at the college- and career-ready level on assessment(s) that are validated by higher education and industry. This includes state assessments as well as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and industry-recognized credentials.
  • Transitions beyond High School:  If the goal of the K-12 system is to prepare students for their next step beyond high school, it is critical that states monitor how successfully students make those transitions, including college enrollment, remediation, apprenticeship and certificate programs, and job placement.

In addition, the report outlines key actions states can take to implement these measures today, or in the future, including:

  1.    Highlight College- and Career-Ready Measures in High School Public Report Cards. All states issue public report cards on the performance of their high schools. College and career readiness should be the focus of these reports going forward.
  2.   Align K-12, Higher Education and Workforce Goals. Many states have set higher education attainment goals connected to projected workforce needs. A critical next step is to set targets for K-12 schools that are aligned to the higher education goals, so that all systems are working to meet a common vision.
  3. Make College- and Career-Ready Measures Count in School Accountability Determinations. The most valid college and career readiness measures should be given sufficient weight in states’ school ratings systems so there are appropriate incentives for improvement.

For additional overview information and commentary, see:

To read the report, see: