College and Career Ready

What We Know NowDescription:

Col­lege today means much more than just pur­su­ing a four-​year degree at a uni­ver­sity. Being “col­lege ready” means being pre­pared for any post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion or train­ing expe­ri­ence, includ­ing study at two– and four-​year insti­tu­tions lead­ing to a post­sec­ondary cre­den­tial (i.e. a cer­tifi­cate, license, associate’s or bachelor’s degree). Being ready for col­lege means that a high school grad­u­ate has the Eng­lish and math­e­mat­ics knowl­edge and skills nec­es­sary to qual­ify for and suc­ceed in entry-​level, credit-​bearing col­lege courses with­out the need for reme­dial coursework.

What is “career” ready? In today’s econ­omy, a “career” is not just a job. A career pro­vides a family-​sustaining wage and path­ways to advance­ment and requires post­sec­ondary train­ing or edu­ca­tion. A job may be obtained with only a high school diploma, but offers no guar­an­tee of advance­ment or mobil­ity. Being ready for a career means that a high school grad­u­ate has the Eng­lish, and math­e­mat­ics knowl­edge and skills needed to qual­ify for and suc­ceed in the post­sec­ondary job train­ing and/​or edu­ca­tion nec­es­sary for their cho­sen career (i.e. technical/​vocational pro­gram, com­mu­nity col­lege, appren­tice­ship or sig­nif­i­cant on-​the-​job training.)


Why the Focus on “col­lege and career ready?” Today, nearly every good job requires some post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion and/​or train­ing – such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, cer­tifi­cate, license, or com­ple­tion of an appren­tice­ship or sig­nif­i­cant on-​the-​job train­ing. The best way to pre­pare stu­dents for life after high school is to ensure they grad­u­ate with a strong foun­da­tion in the core aca­d­e­mic areas that will leave all doors open in the future.

Considerations or Implications

How is Wis­con­sin work­ing to fur­ther advance the college-​and-​career-​ready agenda?

  1. Real­ize the promise of the Com­mon Core State Stan­dards by imple­ment­ing them fully and suc­cess­fully, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the related cur­ric­u­lar and pol­icy changes.
  2. Adopt col­lege– and career-​ready grad­u­a­tion require­ments, aligned to the Com­mon Core State Stan­dards, to ensure all stu­dents are pre­pared, and eli­gi­ble, for entry into col­lege and skilled careers.
  3. Remain com­mit­ted to the goals of the Smarter Bal­anced Assess­ment Con­sor­tium in devel­op­ing a next-​generation, computer-​based assess­ment sys­tem that will mea­sure the full range of the Com­mon Core State Standards.
  4. Con­tinue to make progress on the state’s data col­lec­tion efforts, par­tic­u­larly around mak­ing stu­dent data avail­able in a timely man­ner to rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers and reg­u­larly link­ing K-​12 and post­sec­ondary student-​level data.
  5. Re-​examine the state’s K-​12 account­abil­ity sys­tem to deter­mine how it can reward mea­sures of col­lege and career readiness.


Wisconsin’s DPI (
Achieve (

San­dra Brauer, Prin­ci­pal, North Woods Inter­na­tional School and Super­vi­sor, World Lan­guages and Social Studies

Mike Zellmer, Direc­tor of Assess­ment and Learn­ing, Franklin Pub­lic Schools

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