What does College and Career Readiness instruction really look like?

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.47.11 AMAdult education is undergoing major changes as programs begin to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, commonly referred to as WIOA. While attainment of a High School Equivalency Certificate, HSE, is considered an achievement, the goal is to equip students with a solid academic foundation and the soft skills necessary for college and career success. Because these are very broad ideas, many teachers wonder what this preparation look like in the classroom?

To begin, its important to fully understand college and career readiness. While college readiness and career readiness are similar, they are not the same. A college ready student should be successful – without remediation or placement in developmental education courses – in credit-bearing general education courses or a two-year certificate program. Career ready students are able to apply the academic knowledge and skills to concrete situations and function successfully in the workplace.

According to David Conley, PhD, from the Educational Policy Improvement Center, there are four dimensions of college readiness. They include the following:

  • Key cognitive strategies
  • Key content knowledge
  • Academic behaviors
  • Contextual skills and awareness or ‘college knowledge’

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Instructionally, students should have access to challenging and appropriate curricula that addr
esses critical content areas. Additionally, students should develop skills in metacognition.


Career readin
ess is the extra layer of instruction which  builds on the academic knowledge and metacognition necessary for college success. Integrating real word scenarios, problem solving opportunities, and career / job exploration opportunities help connect instruction so a student becomes both college and career ready.

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So what does the instruction look like? First, use a standards-based, rigorus curricula that is approproate for the student’s skill level. Secondly, teach students to ‘think about their thinking.’ Developing metacognitive skills is essential for continued success and the ability to apply current knowledge to new skills. Third, help students develop soft skills by teaching goal setting, time management, and communication skills. Finally, ensure that students have time to explore the Career Clusters and develop an action plan for reaching their career goals.

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