For more than a decade, Achieve has issued an annual 50-state report on each state’s adoption of college- and career-ready (CCR) policies as reflected in state standards, graduation requirements, assessments, and accountability systems. Having the right policies is necessary to ensure that students graduate academically prepared for college and careers, but policy alone is insufficient. Implementation of policy matters. So how do states— and their citizens—know whether their policies are having the intended impact? As graduation rates continue to rise, how do states know whether more students are graduating college and career ready? To know the answer to this question, Achieve looked at actual student performance against CCR measures in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The K–12 and postsecondary summary reports represent the first time that indicators of college and career readiness, from publicly available sources, have been compiled to paint a picture of college and career readiness in every state in this way. The reports and accompanying state profiles illustrate that too few high school graduates are prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, the military, and careers. Rather surprisingly, the reports also show significant limitations in the availability of data and inconsistencies in how they are reported, making it challenging for policymakers, educators, families, and advocates to have a clear answer to the simple question: Are high school graduates prepared for postsecondary success?