Issue/Policy Brief

Competency-Based Education: Staying Shallow or Going Deep?

In order to be successful in the 21st century, students will need to master an expanded set of competencies that extends beyond discrete academic standards. Competency-based education (CBE) is an educational approach that focuses on mastery of these competencies – rather than seat time – as a measure of student learning.  This approach is being adopted by a growing number of educators focused on ensuring students graduate college and career ready.

Aligning K–12 and Postsecondary Career Pathways with Workforce Needs

This brief from the Education Commission of the States examines the policymaking activity of 13 states concerning two core areas: (1) how these states are establishing processes for educators and employers to use workforce data to set goals that align with high school and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs; and (2) how these states are developing strategies that scale up career pathways in a way that connects K–12 education to postsecondary CTE initiatives.  

 

Fostering School Success with Standards for Nonacademic Skills

Growing evidence highlights the importance of teaching social and emotional skills alongside academic skills for students’ success throughout their education and beyond. Although social and emotional skills are frequently tied to early education standards, they are often left out of the standards for elementary, middle, and high school. As a result, many states have encountered roadblocks in aligning early learning standards with those for K–12.

Career Pathway Systems: Lessons from Miami

This brief profiles Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ efforts to establish career pathway systems for its students. These efforts focus on providing students with coursework that builds their competencies in core academic and career areas, and provides opportunities to earn postsecondary and workforce credentials. Key features of the district’s career pathway systems include early career exploration, strong partnerships with postsecondary and workforce institutions, and emphasis on college and career in school curriculum and culture.

Planning for Higher Education Programs: Effectively Using Data and Modeling to Understand Workforce Needs

Educators and policymakers responsible for planning degree and certificate programs have a wide range of quantitative and qualitative workforce data available to support their decision making. Although the use of this information is usually limited to managing ongoing programs, these data also can contribute to supporting broader scans of occupations and fields of study in which new programs might be needed.

Integrating Earning College Credit in High School into Accountability Systems

Evidence suggests that earning college credit prior to postsecondary enrollment is a predictor of college success. States are now being asked to consider including measures related to students earning college credit during high school in their accountability systems. This paper offers research-based guidance and recommendations to states for incorporating these indicators into their accountability systems.

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