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Definition of College and Career Readiness

Together these attributes provide the framework for college and career readiness and support educational and workplace success as well as serve as the basis for being an active participant in our democracy. From Massachusetts Definition of College and Career Readiness, March 2013

The Massachusetts Board Higher Education approved the statewide Definition of College and Career Readiness (.PDF) on March 12, 2013, following input from the public, PARCC Coordinating Council, the Integrating College and Career Readiness Task Force and the Campus Engagement Teams and Fellows, and following a parallel vote by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in February 2013.

The three-page definition is intended to provide better coordination between the schools and colleges, with the goal of aligning curriculum and expectations for students. Essential competencies include:


College and career ready students in English Language Arts/ Literacy will be academically prepared to:

  • Read and comprehend a range of sufficiently complex texts independently
  • Write effectively when using and/or analyzing sources
  • Build and present knowledge through research and the integration, comparison, and synthesis of ideas
  • Use context to determine the meaning of words and phrases

College and career ready students in Mathematics will be academically prepared to:

  • Solve problems involving the major content with connections to the mathematical practices
  • Solve problems involving the additional and supporting content with connections to the mathematical practices
  • Express mathematical reasoning by constructing mathematical arguments and critiques
  • Solve real world problems, engaging particularly in the modeling practice

Workplace Readiness

College and career ready students will demonstrate:

Work Ethic and Professionalism

  • Attendance and punctuality expected by the workplace
  • Workplace appearance appropriate for position and duties
  • Accepting direction and constructive criticism with a positive attitude and response
  • Motivation and taking initiative, taking projects from initiation to completion
  • Understanding workplace culture, policy and safety, including respecting confidentiality and workplace ethics

Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills

  • Oral and written communication appropriate to the workplace
  • Listening attentively and confirming understanding
  • Interacting with co-workers, individually and in teams

Qualities and Strengths

In high school, students should demonstrate:

  • Higher order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
  • The ability to think critically, coherently, and creatively
  • The ability to direct and evaluate their own learning, be aware of resources available to support their learning, and have the confidence to access these resources when needed
  • Motivation, intellectual curiosity, flexibility, discipline, self-advocacy, responsibility, and reasoned beliefs

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