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What Teachers Say About College and Career Readiness


EdSource, in partnership with the California Teachers Association (CTA), conducted an online survey to find out what teachers feel is the key to career and college readiness and success. The results spoke volumes about what we ought to be providing our next generation of workers, according to the people on the front lines, and about what these students are learning instead. Let’s take a closer look.


(Photo Credit: Shaylor/Flickr)

1. Prepping for college and careers is the goal.

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There has been some pushback lately surrounding the idea that preparedness for the future is the primary goal of education. The benefits of a good education surely extend beyond the bottom line, but in today’s competitive job market, it’s become the main focus just the same. It turns out that today’s teachers are on board. Ninety-five percent of the 1,000 California teachers surveyed reported that they supported setting college and career readiness as the goal for the state’s students.

2. The vast majority of teachers think it’s an attainable goal.

When asked, “In your opinion, how realistic is the goal of ensuring that students in your school graduate from high school prepared for college and careers?” Thirty percent responded that it was very realistic, and 46 percent felt it was somewhat realistic. Only 7 percent felt the goal was “not realistic at all.” A piece published by EdSource on the survey explained teachers’ confidence in the attainability of a readiness goal varied in relation to the socioeconomic background of their students.

3. Teachers know how to do it, but they’re less sure their schools do.

Ninety-eight percent of those surveyed said that they were “very knowledgeable” or “somewhat knowledgeable” about what should be done to prepare students for college and careers. However, less than 30 percent reported that their school or district had a linked learning or career pathways program which linked the curriculum to a specific occupation or career option. Similarly, only 65 percent said that their school district had clearly defined standards for what constitutes college and career readiness for students.

4. Critical thinking skills top the list of most important skills.

When asked how to assess college and career readiness, 49 percent of teachers said that developing critical thinking skills was most important. These skills focus on students’ ability to interpret, infer, conceptualize, and evaluate information to develop deep and meaningful understanding of learned material and content.

5. Standardized tests were the least important measure, according to teachers.

When teachers were asked if scoring at a “proficient level on the new Smart Balanced assessments” was the most important measure of preparedness, only 1 percent said that it was. In fact, standardized tests generally assess content knowledge rather than skills. They are, in this way, diametrically opposed to the critical thinking skills teachers value as the most important, and this survey definitely makes teachers’ opinions on that clear.

Check out the full results of the survey for more information.

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