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The Readiness Project

Session 5
Chris Jackson — CWRA

Last year, ACT published findings (via Policy Implications on Preparing for Higher Standards) illustrating that 89% of high school educators believe that they are graduating students college-ready, while only 26% of college professors believe this to be true. Therefore, it must either be true that high school educators have a misguided sense of self-worth, or we’re faced with conflicting definitions of what it actually means to be “college-ready”.

ACT bases its definition of readiness on established content-area benchmarks (science, math, reading English). Arne Duncan describes CCR as the ability to work in diverse teams, display grit, and continually learn. As Director of the CWRA (the College & Work Readiness Assessment), even I’m guilty of definition-conflating. (Our definition includes mastery of deeper learning skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and effective communication).

It’s high time we take back the conversation and define for ourselves what definitions of college and career readiness we wish to be held to. This session builds off work I have done with other groups to build ground-level consensus around (a) how to best define what it means to be college (and career) ready, (b) best methods for teaching toward that definition and (c) ways to effectively align assessment practices with both the definition and the aligned teaching practices.

As I continue accumulating feedback from across the country, my goal is to determine how these definitions—essentially created in the vacuum of individual conference sessions—resemble one another (and often fail to resemble the definitions established by outside parties).

Conversational Practice

This session will be roughly 80% group-based work and consensus building. But for some baseline foundation setting, the content of the session will be driven by the discussions themselves. Conversations around defining “readiness” will scaffold appropriately into conversations about pedagogy and, subsequently, assessment. To be fair…EduCon attendees are somewhat self-selecting, so I can anticipate where the conversation will go, so it won’t be without structure. But the results of this session will play an integral part in ensuring that the voices of the EduCon participant will influence a more national conversation about righting existing misalignment in the ways that various groups view college (and career) readiness.

Conversation Links

Presenter Profiles

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson
Big Picture Learning
Lee Finkelstein
Lee Finkelstein


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