Redefining Ready!

by Joe Schroeder, PhD, Associate Executive Director, AWSA

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Dr. David Schuler (the 2015-16 AASA President, a former Wisconsin educator, and current superintendent of the high-performing District 214 in Chicago’s northwest suburbs) gave a rousing keynote at the WASDA Fall Convention on Sept. 16 in Madison. Dave’s message: America’s schools have a profound responsibility to ensure that our nation’s students are college ready, career ready, and life ready.  But standardized test scores -- traditionally used as the primary readiness indicator -- do not always provide an accurate representation of our students’ potential. Our students and profession deserve better. Therefore AASA is launching a national campaign to introduce a new multi-metric, research-based approach to determining what it truly means to be ready.

Providing an opportunity to consider the whole child, AASA seeks to redefine readiness and change the national narrative surrounding public education in our country by focusing on the three main areas of importance to students, parents, teachers, and employers:  college readiness, career readiness, and life readiness.  Since the implementation of No Child Left Behind, educators have looked to meet the needs of a diverse student body with a narrow focus on assessment results. Now with the Every Student Succeeds Act serving as the new law of the land, Redefining Ready! (AASA’a name for their national campaign on this issue) offers educators an opportunity to diversify the manner in which we measure student success overall. The following summary provides an overview of the research-based, multi-metric Redefining Ready! indicators.  

College Ready Indicators

Students are College Ready if they meet either the academic or standardized testing benchmarks listed below:

GPA 2.8 out of 4.0 and one or more of the following benchmarks:

  • Advanced Placement Exam (3+)

  • Advanced Placement Course (A, B, or C)

  • Dual Credit College English and/or Math (A, B, or C)

  • College Developmental/Remedial English and/or Math (A, B, or C)

  • Algebra II (A, B, or C)

  • International Baccalaureate Exam (4+)

  • College Readiness Placement Assessment*

    *Standardized Test benchmarks (minimum score)

SAT Exam:  Math (530), Reading and Writing (480)

ACT Exam:  English (18), Reading (22), Science (23),Math (22)

Career Ready Indicators

Students are Career Ready if they have identified a career interest and meet two of the behavioral and experiential benchmarks listed below.  In addition, students entering the military upon graduation must meet the passing scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) for each branch of the military.

Career Cluster identified and two or more of the following benchmarks:

  • 90% Attendance

  • 25 Hours of Community Service

  • Workplace Learning Experience

  • Industry Credential

  • Dual Credit Career Pathway Course

  • Two or More Organized Co-Curricular Activities

Life Ready

Being Life Ready means students leave high school with the grit and perseverance to tackle and achieve their goals.  Students who are Life Ready possess the growth mindset that empowers them to approach their future with confidence, to dream big, and to achieve big. Our nation’s schools provide social and emotional support and experiences to equip students with the Life Ready skills they will need for success in their future.

As Dr. Schuler asserted, much of this effort is about providing “a more authentic, fair, and encouraging” pathway forward for students and their futures because “students and parents can’t dream what they can’t see.” So learn more about how you can intentionally plant more seeds for better futures to be realized in your school and community by Redefining Ready!