Communicating College and Career Readiness through Proficiency Standards

The need to adequately prepare all students for the next stage in their lives has led a number of states to adopt new educational standards that reflect the expectation that all high school students will be ready for college and career when they graduate.

The report Communicating College and Career Readiness through Proficiency Standards (PDF; 6 pages) describes how three states (Kentucky, New York, and Florida) and the District of Columbia have already transitioned their state assessments to reflect college and career readiness and how they have correspondingly determined performance and proficiency standards to match. Lessons learned from these examples may help other states currently negotiating their own transitions.

The report offers states the following policy recommendations:

  • Reinforce why college and career readiness is the right goal for all students.
  • Set proficiency standards using empirical data that indicate whether a student is on target for college and career readiness.
  • Develop—and carry out—a communications plan to prepare the public for a short-term decline in average state scores as a new baseline is being established.

Following these recommendations will help states navigate the transition to a culture in which student readiness for college and career becomes the “gold standard” by which educational progress is measured.

Subscribe to ACT Research and Policy Alerts
Stay current with ACT research on important policy issues with email delivered to your inbox.