Skip Navigation

College and Career Readiness

Resources for College and Career Readiness

The National High School Center has created a series of resources to provide insight into the college and career readiness landscape, and to help inform college and career readiness conversations amongst states, districts, schools, and other stakeholder organizations. The College and Career Development Organizer briefs can be used as an introduction to the Organizer tool and provide a brief overview of the college and career readiness landscape. Briefs in the Common Core State Standards Initiative series help to familiarize users with the Initiative, its relationship to college and career readiness, and its implications for at-risk subgroups. Other college and career tools and resources in the Center’s Knowledge Database can be used to assist in the development of plans to ensure that all students graduate from high school college and career ready.

CCR Organizer image College and Career Development Organizer
The College and Career Development Organizer was created to synthesize and organize the field of college and career readiness initiatives. The organizer can be used to map the efforts of state educational agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) as well as the many organizations researching and providing support for college and career readiness. The organizer can also be used as a set of building blocks to help users develop college and career readiness strategies and initiatives to address student needs. (April 2012)
CCR Organizer Intro Brief icon College and Career Development Organizer [Brief]
In this brief, the National High School Center provides an overview of the College and Career Development Organizer. First, the brief describes the organizer and its intended use, providing specific examples of what it is and is not designed to do. Then, it walks potential users through the organizer to familiarize them with its content. Finally, the brief concludes with key considerations for those engaged in college and career readiness work.
Goals Expectations icon Goals and Expectations for College and Career Readiness: What Should Students Know and Be Able to Do?
This brief, the second in the College and Career Development Organizer series, summarizes the goals and expectations of college and career readiness that have been collected and organizes this information into three key threads: 1) Core Content; 2) Pathways Content; 3) Lifelong Learning Skills. Along with a brief description of each thread, key components are highlighted and examples of each type of goal and expectation are provided. The brief concludes with key factors that schools, districts, and states may want to consider as they begin to build, analyze, and address goals and expectations specific to college and career readiness in their contexts.
Pathways & Supports brief Pathways and Supports for College and Career Preparation: What Policies, Programs, and Structures Will Help High School Graduates Meet Expectations?
This brief, the third in the College and Career Development Organizer series, summarizes the pathways and supports of college and career preparation that have been collected and organizes this information into three key threads:  1) Personalized Learning Supports; 2) Rigorous Programs of Study; 3) Aligned Resources, Structures, and Supports.  Along with a brief description of each thread, key components are highlighted and examples of each type of pathway and support are provided. The brief concludes with key factors that schools, districts, and states may want to consider as they begin to build, analyze, and address pathways and supports specific to college and career readiness in their contexts.
Outcomes and Measures brief Outcomes and Measures for College and Career Success: How Do We Know When High School Graduates Meet Expectations?
This brief, the fourth in the College and Career Development Organizer series, summarizes the outcomes and measures of college and career success that have been collected and organizes this information into three key threads: 1) On-track indicators; 2) Attainment and authentication; 3) Accountability and improvement feedback. Along with a brief description of each thread, key components are highlighted and examples of each type of outcome and measure are provided. The brief concludes with key factors that schools, districts, and states may want to consider as they begin to build, analyze, and address measures and outcomes specific to college and career readiness in their contexts.
CCR Action template College and Career Readiness Action Planning Template
The College and Career Readiness Action Planning Template includes ten overarching questions designed to help states discuss key areas of college and career readiness. Each question has a series of more detailed subquestions that can be used to further examine each college and career readiness topic area. (May 2012)
College and Career Readiness and Success: Inventory of Policies, Programs and Initiatives
This inventory, based on the College and Career Development Organizer, is designed to help users catalog policies, programs, and initiatives that support students on their pathways to success in college and careers. Intended primarily for Regional Comprehensive Centers and states, the tool can help users identify areas of strength as well as gaps or redundancies in current and planned activities, and reflect on state priorities and their alignment with these activities. (February 2013)
How Career and Technical Education Can Help Students Be College and Career Ready: A Primer
If educators and policymakers are to make good on the national commitment to graduate more students from high school prepared to face postsecondary challenges, schools must continue to improve career technical education (CTE), ensuring that students have access to high-quality pathways to success. This brief provides an overview of the evolution of CTE in the U.S., reviews what CTE looks like in practice, and highlights issues CTE faces in the field that must be overcome for it to become an impactful and wide-reaching strategy for preparing students for postsecondary success. It also discusses the importance of these programs for allowing students the opportunities to acquire the competencies required in today’s workplace, and to learn about different careers by experiencing work and workplaces. (March 2013)
The District Role in Support College and Career Readiness for Students
As school systems across the county recommit themselves to ensuring college and career readiness and success, they must rely on districts to translate federal and state policies into the local context. This brief builds upon recommendations from a 2009 Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Practice Guide that describes evidence-based practices that promote postsecondary access for high school students. While the IES recommendations are relevant for schools, this brief points to the important role that districts play in ensuring schools have the resources to provide student access to a coherent set of activities that support their college and career goals. This brief focuses on three large schools districts that have initiated district-wide, systemic approaches to college and career readiness and success. The snapshots provide examples of opportunities to scale up the practices recommended in the IES Practice Guide. (March 2013)
Improving College and Career Readiness by Incorporating Social and Emotional Learning
This issue brief was written to assist state policymakers in better understanding how social and emotional learning (SEL) can help students to be college and career ready. The brief provides a short description of what SEL is, why it is needed, and what it looks like in practice. In addition, examples of standards that support SEL at the federal and state levels, current SEL initiatives and programs, and outcomes and measures that can be used to assess SEL programming are described. A list of resources is included at the end of this brief for policymakers who are interested in learning more. (March 2013)
Improving College and Career Readiness for Students with Disabilities
This issue brief is intended to assist state policymakers in better understanding strategies to prepare students with disabilities and special needs for college and career. The brief provides context and background on the numbers of students with disabilities who are college and career ready; examines issues and strategies related to preparation and readiness for postsecondary education and careers; and includes examples of current programs and policies that help students with disabilities to successfully transition to college and career. (March 2013)
CCR scan icon Defining College and Career Readiness: A Resource Guide
This resource guide synthesizes information collected through a review of more than 70 organizations focused on college and career readiness. The guide includes:
  • A snapshot of how various organizations are framing their college and career readiness discussion in terms of outcomes, where those outcomes overlap, and prevalence of those outcomes.
  • A compilation of definitions from organizations that have developed explicit language around what college and career readiness means for their work.
  • A selection of college and career frameworks as examples of how college and career readiness can be approached. (April 2012)
  June 2012 Webinar Series on College and Career Readiness
If you missed our June college and career readiness Webinar series, you can now access archived materials from each of the presentations. Nationally-recognized experts and practitioners in the field of college and career readiness shared their perspectives on defining and actualizing college and career readiness for all students. Webinars included:
  • June 5, 2012: The Complexity of College and Career Readiness
  • June 12, 2012: College and Career Readiness and Linked Learning
  • June 19, 2012: College and Career Readiness and Students with Disabilities
  • June 26, 2012: Aligning Resources, Structures and Supports for Actualizing College and Career Readiness
Learn more about the Webinars and presenters, and view the archived Webinars!
College and Career Readiness Symposium Videos
Video recordings of the National High School Center's College and Career Readiness symposium, held April 24, 2012 in Washington, DC, are available on the Center's YouTube channel.
Additional College and Career Readiness Resources
The National High School Center’s High School Knowledge Database provides additional tools, products and research related to college and career readiness, as well as other high school improvement topics. All college and career readiness resources may be found through a keyword search or by clicking the "College and Career-Readiness" check box on the Topics tab. To search the Database, please click here.
College and Career Readiness Symposium Resources
The National High School Center has requested that symposium participants provide resources they feel are useful in their college and career readiness work. View the college and career readiness resources suggested by symposium participants.