Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, 37 states have added college and career readiness indicators into their accountability systems for high schools. However, because there is no uniform way to measure readiness, states developed different metrics and set different standards for how students are deemed prepared. This raises questions of whether certain states’ approaches are more effective in evaluating student preparedness than others, which we explored in our March 2023 report, Undermeasuring: College and Career Readiness Indicators May Not Reflect College and Career Outcomes. We found that many states’ indicators may be “undermeasuring” students’ postsecondary potential, just as many highly qualified students are “undermatched” and do not enroll in colleges that reflect their abilities.
Given these findings, the report offered several recommendations for state leaders to improve their college and career readiness indicators and highlighted a number of states leading the way. In this series, we follow up with three of them: California, Louisiana, and Georgia.
Each brief explains a key feature of the state’s college and career readiness indicator that sets it apart and helps provide richer, more nuanced information about students’ levels of preparation for higher education and the workforce. Specifically:
- California Leads in Disaggregating Readiness Data. The California School Dashboard uses the College/Career Indicator, or CCI, to measure the percentage of high school graduates prepared for college or a career. But unlike many other states, California does more than report the percentage of ready graduates. The state provides additional context so Dashboard users can make meaning of the CCI indicator, as well as additional data for wonkier users who want to dive deeper into which high school student groups are prepared, and how.
- Louisiana Defines a Stronger Diploma. Louisiana’s Strength of Diploma index accounts for 25% of a high school’s rating. However, unlike many other states’ college and career readiness indicators, the Strength of Diploma index considers more than whether a student graduates “ready.” It considers the quality of different high school pathways and incentivizes schools to help students complete pathways linked to the strongest postsecondary outcomes.
- Georgia Measures Readiness with College Outcomes. Most states measure college and career readiness by examining what students do during high school instead of taking a look at whether, or not, they were actually ready for what comes next. Only four states use postsecondary data for high school accountability, and only one of them looks at whether students actually enroll in college-level, non-remedial courses: Georgia.
We hope this series helps state education leaders and advocates learn from these innovative practices and adopt similar approaches in their own communities.