College and/or Career Readiness for Breckinridge County Students
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Thursday, December 05, 2013

“College and/or Career Readiness for Breckinridge County Students”

By BCHS Principal Nick Carter

            College and/or Career ready status has become a common word used in recent years among education circles. You might hear the phrase used by an educator, a politician, or a news anchor. Have you ever asked yourself, “what does it truly mean for a student to graduate from high school college and/or career ready?” Technically, a student must meet Kentucky ACT benchmarks in the tested areas of Reading, English, and Mathematics in order to be college ready. Students who fail to meet these benchmarks on the ACT are offered the opportunity to meet them by taking the Compass or KYOTE exams. Students may reach career ready status by successfully completing a two-step process. The first step requires a student to score a 55 or higher on the ASVAB exam or score a 4 or higher on the ACT WorkKeys exam. The second step in the process requires a student to earn a passing score on the KOSSA test or to successfully earn an Industry Certificate. Below, we will review each of the requirements for students to become college and/or career ready.

            The ACT consists of four multiple-choice exams in the areas of English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Each exam is timed and measures the level of learning achieved by students during their high school education up to that point. Students may score between a 0 and 36 on each section and their scores are averaged for an overall composite score. The ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States. ACT test scores provide colleges and universities with necessary data to assist in recruiting, advising, placement, and retention. In order to meet college level benchmarks, the Kentucky Department of Education requires students to score at least a 19 in Mathematics, a 20 in Reading, and an 18 in English. These students are eligible to enroll in college level courses during their first year of college instead of remedial courses that do not count towards a degree, but still cost tuition.

            The ACT COMPASS test is a computer-adaptive placement test that allows educators to evaluate incoming students’ skill levels in Reading, Writing Skills, Writing Essay, Math, and English as a Second Language. The Kentucky Department of Education allows students to take the COMPASS Mathematics, Reading, and Writing exams to meet Kentucky ACT benchmarks in an effort to earn college ready status and enroll in college level courses after high school. The COMPASS test is administered online and provides fast and accurate results for students. Also, there are many COMPASS preparation programs that students have access to online to assist them in meeting ACT benchmarks. The Kentucky Department of Education requires that a student score at least a 36 on the Mathematics test, at minimum of an 85 on the Reading test, and at least a 74 on the Writing test to meet benchmarks. The KYOTE is another online test that students can take assessing their preparedness for college level learning in Mathematics, Reading, and Writing. Meeting the benchmarks on the KYOTE will allow students to enroll in credit bearing classes their first year of college after graduating from high school college ready.

            The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple choice test administered to high school students across the United States aimed at determining qualification for enlistment in the United States Military. Students who score a 55 or higher on the ASVAB have successfully fulfilled one step of the process in becoming career ready upon high school graduation. Students also have the option to take the ACT WorkKeys exam during their high school years to successfully complete the first step towards career readiness. The ACT WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain high performing employees. Many companies and manufacturing plants in our surrounding areas require applicants to take the ACT WorkKeys and utilize the data when making hiring decisions. Students who score a 4 or higher on the exam have successfully passed the first step towards graduating career ready.

            The second step towards a student earning career ready status upon high school graduation requires a passing score on the Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment (KOSSA). The Kentucky Department of Education utilizes this exam to ensure that career and technical education students have acquired the necessary skills to successfully transition from high school to college, technical school, or the workforce. Students who pass the KOSSA exam in the career pathway they have completed or earn an Industry Certificate complete the second step to earning career ready status upon high school graduation.

            Since the passing of Senate Bill 1 by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2009, schools across the commonwealth have been mandated to provide more opportunities and better prepare students for the rigors of the global economy. Graduates are leaving the halls of high school and moving into a world much different from years ago. Assembly line manufacturing jobs that require very little skills are not as plentiful as in years past. Employers in the twenty-first century working world need employees who have the ability to process and analyze information before making a decision while working at a very efficient pace. Leadership skills are sought after more today than ever before by our nation’s business leaders. Therefore, we must continue working towards all students being ready to accept the many challenges awaiting them upon graduation. Breckinridge County High School and the Breckinridge County Area Technology Center have worked hard over the last few years to provide students with multiple opportunities to choose a career pathway or meet ACT benchmarks before entering college. Moving forward, Breckinridge County High School, the Breckinridge County Area Technology Center, and the entire community must continue to educate students about the importance of their education and taking advantage of all opportunities to become college and/or career ready upon high school graduation.

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