5 ways to spot college and career readiness in classrooms

5 ways to spot college and career readiness in classrooms

When you walk into a classroom, how can you be sure that students are really on their way to being college- and career-ready?

As I shared in a recent Scholastic EduPulse blog, effective implementation of College-and Career-Readiness Standards (CCRS) means first having a shared understanding of what mastery really looks like at all levels and what teachers need to do to make it happen.

It sounds simple, but as most as school leaders and teachers know, resources that actually link instructional practices to student actions and outcomes are hard to come by.

That's why the Insight Core Framework—and specifically the Five Core Practices—outline distinct, observable teacher and student actions, and why it can help school leaders gauge the effectiveness of CCRS implementation in classrooms.

Here's what to look for next time you walk into a classroom:

Core Practice 1: Know the discipline well

Observable student actions:

  • Demonstrates precise content knowledge
  • Uses academic vocabulary
  • Uses resources that are high quality and appropriately complex

Observable instructional practices

The teacher has a deep understanding of the content he or she is teaching and is able to communicate it in a way students can understand.

Core Practice 2: Prioritize evidence over opinion

Observable student actions:

  • Responds to questions with evidence-based answers
  • Uses evidence when building arguments, making claims, or explaining thinking

Observable teacher practices

Not only does the instructor need to give students opportunities to find and use evidence to support answers—she or he needs to challenge students to go beyond weak arguments and basic opinions. 

Core Practice 3: Grow and improve students’ knowledge base

Observable student actions:

  • Makes connections within and across disciplines
  • Applies acquired knowledge in real-world situations
  • Exchanges and analyzes multiple perspectives

Observable teacher practices

The teacher facilitates connections across disciplines and provides students with the opportunity to practice applying their knowledge in authentic situations with real purposes.

Core Practice 4: Assess progress toward mastery

Observable student actions:

  • Demonstrates understanding in various contexts
  • Receives, acknowledges, and incorporates teacher feedback

Observable teacher practices

Mastery is more than just tracking grades. The teacher provides timely feedback to students and structures learning activities toward relevant data.

Core Practice 5: Promote intellectual risk-taking and persistence

Observable student actions:

  • Feels part of a supportive and challenging learning environment
  • Demonstrates academic curiosity 

Observable teacher practices

The teacher gives students multiple opportunities to persist through challenges and learn from mistakes by celebrating perseverance. With the CCRS, it’s not only about getting the “right” answer—it’s about persisting and developing skills for solving challenges for later in life.

We all know that there is a strong link between student mastery and instructional practices. And with the Five Core Practices, school leaders can identify them together with teachers and ensure students are truly on the path to college and career success.

Recommended Read from InsightRecommended read: How to Build a Successful Instructional Coaching Program
Here are  seven practical questions for school leaders and instructional coaches to reflect upon together as they lead coaching programs in their schools that provide the feedback teachers need and want.


Download Insight Core Framework.Recommended download: Download the Insight Core Framework, including the rubric and bibliography.

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