One Vision: College and Career Ready
Today's students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and employers are demanding more than ever. To ensure that all students are ready for success after high school, New Jersey has set high expectations for what students should know and be able to do in each grade level. In conjunction with rigorous standards, New Jersey has adopted assessments to help measure critical thinking, problem-solving and reasoning skills that students need whether they are moving to the next grade level or graduating from high school. Preparing every child for success in college and career is the vision guiding our education system in New Jersey.
Why is this important?
There are several compelling reasons why we must help students prepare for their future life by being college and career ready.
- Statistics show that only approximately 40% of New Jersey's high school students are college-ready. In fact, about seven in ten first-year students entering New Jersey's community colleges must take remedial courses to learn what they should have learned in high school. This increases the cost of higher education for many students and delays their graduation.
- Overall, New Jersey schools have one of the highest high-school graduation rates in the nation, and Garden State students perform well on tests such as NAEP, SATs and ACTs. For some student subgroups, however, it is clear from the test data that New Jersey has a persistent achievement gap that must be overcome.
- According to the National Governor's Association, a high school diploma is not adequate for the employment workforce needs of the future. Because of the globalization of the world in recent years, young people entering the job market are now competing with people in other states and other nations. Public schools must adjust if students are to be competitive in a world with new demands.
How is New Jersey preparing students to be ready for college and career?
There are several ways the state is working to accomplish this goal in every district and charter school:
- High standards: New Jersey adopted its first set of core academic standards in the mid-1990s. These standards in nine subject areas are not a curriculum, but rather describe what students are expected to learn in each grade. New Jersey's standards are updated every five years.
- Effective assessments: New Jersey has utilized statewide assessments for decades to measure the progress students are making to meet the standards we have set. Most recently, New Jersey was part of the consortium that developed PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which is aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in math and English language arts. It provides an accurate measure of how well students are doing toward becoming college- and career-ready.
- Effective educators: The teacher is the most important factor in a student's academic success in school. Without an effective teacher, we cannot expect our students to succeed. The TEACH NJ Act was passed by the New Jersey Legislature to provide for a more thorough evaluation system of teachers and principals, and to ensure that struggling educators receive the assistance they need to improve.
- New Jersey Tiered System of Supports
What will happen going forward?
If New Jersey is to achieve the goal of successfully preparing every student for college and career, we must continually refine our initiatives and their implementation. Through review of the standards and a thorough analysis of how PARCC is measuring student achievement, we can provide parents, teachers and administrators with a wealth of information. The data from the PARCC assessments are available to help educators improve classroom instruction and inform parents about their child's academic progress. By working together with parents, educators, and the community at large, we are one step closer to making college and career readiness a reality for every child.