Topic: College and Career Readiness


College and Career Readiness

Today’s workplace requires most Americans to have some form of education beyond high school. Yet more than half of high school students are not graduating well-prepared to be successful in credit-bearing, entry-level courses in colleges or technical schools.

SREB has emphasized the critical need to strengthen readiness to succeed after high school and supports member states in their efforts to improve improve students’ preparation to succeed in entry-level college courses. 

SREB’s Agenda for College and Career Readiness

1. Statewide Readiness Standards in Literacy and Math. There should be statewide standards that relate to success in college degree programs and another set of standards applicable to career programs. Both sets should be developed based on empirical evidence of what it takes to succeed in various forms of postsecondary education.

2. Junior-Year Progress Assessments. All students progress in achieving readiness and postsecondary performance at levels that empirically predict success in first-year degree course work should be assessed no later than the junior year.

3. Senior-Year Transitional Courses. Literacy and math transition courses should be provided and required for students assessed as not ready for college by their senior year. By increasing the flow of students from high school to college who do not need remediation, the cost of college can be reduced and college graduation rates can be positively impacted.

4. Postsecondary Alignment and Use of the Statewide Readiness Standards and Assessments. In addition to working with K-12 to empirically establish readiness standards in literacy and math, postsecondary education should honor results of the junior-year progress assessments in placing entering students. Institutions should recognize successful completion of senior-year transition courses and place students directly in credit-bearing courses when they enter college.

5. State-Level Accountability for Increasing Readiness. Postsecondary education and K-12, as a whole statewide, should be accountable for increasing the readiness of high school graduates over time and for increasing the rate at which students entering college not ready earn postsecondary credentials. Such state-level, statewide accountability should be directed at both career-oriented and college degree programs.

Publication February 20161 page(16V05)

Math Ready
Ready for College

SREB’s Math Ready course for the senior year of high school is designed to prepare students who aren’t yet ready for college math. This flier presents a quick overview of the eight units in the course.


State Definitions of College and Career Readiness

SREB has worked with almost every state in the region and many states outside of the South on developing college-readiness policies and practices and assisting with implementation of both. SREB’s comprehensive readiness agenda highlights five key elements for success in increasing students’ readiness for a variety of postsecondary and workforce pursuits.

Publication August 201420 pages(14E02)

The ACT and SAT: No Longer Just College Admission Tests

SREB states adopted key education policies that increased the proportion of seniors taking the ACT and SAT while they were in high school from 2008 to 2013. This brief covers state-by-state college testing policies, plus data on test-taking by racial and ethnic group.



State Policies to Support a Statewide College- and Career-Readiness Agenda
Policy Brief

Since 2006, the Southern Regional Education Board has supported statewide college- and career readiness initiatives in many states across the region. SREB has worked side by side with states as they implemented policies and practices. This hands-on experience, including deep discussions with state policy-makers, educational leaders and state legislators, has led to clarifications and conclusions about the purpose and focus of these readiness initiatives and the kinds of state policies needed to support them.

Publication Dave SpenceNovember 20138 pages

State Policies to Support a Statewide College- and Career-Readiness Agenda
Essential Elements of State Policy for College Completion

A statewide college- and career-readiness agenda signals clearly and universally what knowledge and learning skills or readiness standards are essential for students to succeed in a substantial majority of postsecondary education programs. The standards need to be reinforced by a series of additional steps that include assessment, supplemental course work, and school accountability. SREB’s College- and Career-Readiness Action Agenda includes five essential components across the educational pipeline: 1. Adopt statewide readiness standards. 2. Assess high school juniors for readiness. 3. Offer transitional readiness courses for juniors assessed as underprepared. 4. Apply the standards in college placement. 5. Hold schools accountable.


Publication Megan RootJanuary 20138 pages

Transitional Courses for College and Career Readiness
Essential Elements of State Policy for College Completion

Offering high school courses to prepare underprepared students for success in college or career training after graduation is a key strategy to reduce remediation, increase postsecondary completion and provide greater access to making a living wage. This Essential Elements policy brief details efforts in states across the nation, outlines questions policymakers need to address, and recommends 12 essential elements for an effective statewide policy to implement transitional courses.