Career and College Readiness and Success for All Students
reviewed by Bridget Lepore - May 24, 2019
Title: Career and College Readiness and Success for All Students
Author(s): Corinne Alfeld, Becky Smerdon & Kellie Kim
Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Charlotte
ISBN: B0788WQJFY, Pages: 180, Year: 2018
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The need for career and college readiness change is well established, and educational policy places a priority on preparing students for success after high school. Few would argue with the idea that the skills necessary for the workplace are related to those necessary for college success, or with the idea that high school graduates should be prepared to succeed in both places. Less clear, however, is the way to achieve this goal. There have been a number of initiatives, many policy-driven, which have tried to ensure college and career readiness. Unfortunately, results have been inconsistent, and our education system needs more evidence-based guidance in order to make local decisions that make sense for students, educators, and schools. Transforming education at the local level to include flexible, adaptable environments that equip students with the skills, knowledge, and values necessary for college and career success needs to start with research.
Career and College Readiness and Success for All Students presents literature on how educational researchers have begun to address the need for educational change. The book presents a thoughtful selection of topics, including specific interventions and outcomes, the transition from high school to adult life, and assessment of learning in technical education and college.
The book is structured with sets of chapters, each with a specific focus and written by different authors. The authors take care to discuss the implications and suggestions from the research, with the clear goal of providing guidance to educational professionals. Together, the chapters provide a fairly broad but relevant foundation for someone charged with understanding evidence and possible models for improving student success in secondary schools and beyond.
Eight chapters appear in this book. The first is a concise introduction that frames the current state of career and college readiness initiatives. The following chapters then present the results of a local study of career and college readiness in two urban districts, Chicago and Milwaukee, along with the timeline, challenges, and interventions used in these districts. The authors compare and contrast these districts, providing ideas and suggestions. This is followed by a chapter which details how the state of Texas implemented assessment of grading high school students. Chapter Four presents literature on the topic of preparing students with disabilities for the transition to adult life, along with a review of research that provides models for this transition.
The next three chapters focus on learning beyond high school, followed by a concluding chapter that summarizes the research presented and offers suggestions on moving forward. Chapter Five describes a method for assessing 21st century skills through practice-based learning. While this chapter focuses on technical education, it has value for career and college as well, providing suggestions for how this type of skills assessment can work. The book then moves to college-related topics, discussing predictors of college success for first-year students. Methods currently in use as well as potential future models and risk factors are discussed with the idea of identifying which students are at risk. The topic then changes to college dropouts and how institutions could predict dropout risk and intervene. The books ends with a discussion of how this carefully chosen research can be of use to those charged with increasing student success.
Focused on empirical research and written for an academic audience, this book provides background information on college and career readiness and as well as the detailed overviews of the results of certain interventions. These interventions can serve as a model for school systems looking to make changes at the local, district, or state levels. This book serves as a starting place for understanding career and college readiness research and its implications. It will be most useful for those familiar with research literature and who are looking for models of intervention. It is not geared towards typical secondary administrators or teachers, and these audiences may require more time and attention while reading this text. The format of the articles, which closely follows the typical format for journal articles, may not be accessible to those who are not used to reading this type of material. That said, the content presented is interesting and is a worthwhile read. Each of the chapters presents valuable material for those concerned about secondary education and the state of first-year college students.