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The Four Keys to College and Career Readiness

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The Four Keys to College and Career Readiness

DATE: Oct 02 2012


Share this definition with colleagues, parents, students, and community members. Use the Four Keys as a framework to discuss and guide conversations. Sharing a common vocabulary and framework is critical to effective, comprehensive planning. Without a comprehensive approach, efforts to prepare students for postsecondary experiences may be fragmented, duplicative, or otherwise insufficient.

Based on extensive research, Dr. David T. Conley and his colleagues at the Educational Policy Improvement Center developed an operational definition of college and career readiness that goes beyond course titles, grades, and test scores1. This model, termed the Four Keys of College and Career Readiness, includes: Key Cognitive Strategies, Key Content Knowledge, Key Learning Skills and Techniques, and Key Transition Knowledge and Skills. While there are other factors that influence college and career readiness, these are the four over which schools can exercise the most influence and for which schools can be reasonably expected to take primary responsibility2. The graphic below depicts the Four Keys and the following page describes them in depth.


Generation TX San Antonio is preparing this generation of San Antonio students to be college-and career-ready. We have a big problem in San Antonio: 32% of our jobs require post-secondary education, but, today, only 18% of our students are getting that education. That’s unsustainable and it’s why we started Generation TX San Antonio. We’re already in every Bexar County school district, working with students and teachers, to change expectations and San Antonio’s future.

Dr. John Folks
Former Superintendent of Northside ISD
2012 Texas Superintendent of the Year