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College and Career Readiness

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The Office of College and Career Readiness contributes to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (ESE) statewide effort to help prepare students for "Success After High School."

Massachusetts Definition of College and Career Readiness

In winter/spring 2013, The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the state's new college and career readiness definition Download PDF Document. Voting on the definition marks the first time that the two boards overseeing the state's K-12 schools and public colleges and universities have partnered in formal agreement on what it means for students to be prepared for success in postsecondary education and the workplace. The definition sends a clear, unified message to educators, students, parents, and employers about our expectations and the level of preparation and performance that signals a student's readiness for college and careers. The definition provides a solid foundation for continued collaboration between the K-12 and higher education systems.

Being college and career ready means that an individual has the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for success in postsecondary education and economically viable career pathways in a 21st century economy.

All young people must be prepared for Successful Careers with knowledge, skills and expereince for College and Career Readiness. Workplace readiness, Academic and Personal/Social Development domains

Integration of College and Career Readiness

The Task Force for the Integration of College and Career Readiness released a comprehensive Report Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document with a series of recommendations designed to promote structured, aligned, and strategic partnerships that support students' fluid movement through elementary, secondary, and higher education into successful careers.

State 2014-2015 Targets

To better prepare all students for successful futures, our efforts for 2014-2015 will be anchored in the following ESE goals:

All of these metrics are connected to ESE's goal of preparing all students for "Success After High School."

Future Ready

ESE has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) on a public communication campaign called the Future Ready. Future Ready Massachusetts enables communities to promote a deeper understanding of what it means for all students to successfully navigate their futures by providing influential adults with various tools and resources that will advance the college and career readiness of the Commonwealth's students.

The Future Ready campaign aims to:

  1. increase the number of students pursuing and succeeding in higher education and economically viable careers; and
  2. build community and family support for completion of a rigorous course of study and relevant experiences which prepare students for success after high school.


YourPlanForTheFuture is the state's no-cost, one-stop online shop for students, parents, and educators designed to help Massachusetts students manage their educational and career pathways. YourPlanForTheFuture has been adopted by more than 140 high schools, representing more than 140,000 students from all corners of the Commonwealth. Leveraging technologies and online user experiences intuitive for students of today, YourPlanForTheFuture centralizes all the key planning elements of a student's educational path, including interactive planning tools, personal portfolio development, and key milestone reminders such as college application and financial aid deadlines.

Early College Design Landscape

Early college designs incorporate credit-bearing college coursework and academic supports into the high school experience to support increased numbers of students to graduate from high school and go on to complete a postsecondary credential with currency in the labor market. Partnerships are between secondary and postsecondary institutions so students can earn up to two years of college credit or even an associate degree while still in high school. A foundational piece of early college designs is the concept of "dual enrollment". The Department along with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and Jobs for the Future has created a document that describes the basic landscape of current early college designs Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document across the Commonwealth.

Seven Key Priority Projects are illustrated in the Department's Delivery Plan

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Academic Support
Academic Support provides academic support and remediation services to secondary school students scoring in warning/failing and needs improvement on the mathematics, English language arts and science/technology and engineering MCAS.

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EWIS and Early Warning Indicators
The Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) is a data-driven system to identify students K-12 that are potentially "off-track" for grade-level or developmental age, including those students that are off-track for high school graduation (potential dropouts.
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The Massachusetts High School Graduation Initiative (MassGrad)
Mass Grad is a new federal project that will support several new and expanded programs to decrease Massachusetts' statewide dropout rate. The 133 high schools that exceeded our statewide dropout rate average in 2008-09 are the target for the project. These high schools are eligible to participate in new networking, technical assistance, training, and competitive grant opportunities.
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MassCore is the Board of Education's recommended program of high school studies. Core courses and electives should total a minimum of 22 credits.
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document MassCore One-Page Summary (as approved by the Mass. Board of Education November 2007)

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Connecting Activities
Connecting Activities provides quality work-based learning experiences that are connected to classroom teaching and learning for high school students participating in school-to-career initiatives across the Commonwealth. The primary goal of Connecting Activities is to design and implement brokered "work and learning" experiences both during the school year and summer to support career development and academic achievement. In-depth review of Connecting Activities.
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The Massachusetts Model for School Counseling (MassModel)
The Mass Model is a collaborative leadership model whereby guidance departments are charged with spearheading systemic school change to help raise student achievement in the academic/technical, workplace readiness and personal/social domains. An implementation guide is available on the Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA) website.
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High School Turnaround (Redesign)
High School Turnaround is included in the Department's work with its lowest performing schools across the Commonwealth.

Additional College and Career Readiness Supports and Initiatives include STEM Early College and Early College Designs, YourPlanforCollege, MCAS, Educational Proficiency Plan and the Competency Determination, On-Line Courses and Modules, Alternative Education Pathways, Pre-AP, CVTE, Dropout Reduction/Prevention

Last Updated: September 30, 2014
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