In 2010, the Kansas State Department of Education adopted the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards (KCCRS). In addition to being more rigorous than any previous standards, the KCCRS emphasize the need for students not only to know the content being taught, but also to be able to demonstrate their knowledge through their ability to reason and think critically in order to craft solutions to problems.
“Kansas has always performed well academically, but the remediation rates tell us that we need to make sure our students are learning at the depth needed to be academically ready for whatever path they choose after high school,” said Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson. “The shift towards the higher standards is in direct response to the increased demands of the workforce and post-secondary education. We want Kansas students well prepared and through the adoption of higher standards and better academic measures, Kansas schools are meeting that challenge.”
The year 2014-15 marks the first time Kansas students were assessed in English language arts and mathematics using the new Kansas College and Career Ready Academic Assessment developed by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) and fully aligned to the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards. Unlike previous assessments, this new computer assessment employs technology-enhanced items that require a student to go beyond simply answering a multiple-choice question. Students were required, for example, to highlight passages of text and plot graphs in order to demonstrate their knowledge and critical thinking skills. Because of the dramatic shift in assessment format as well as the increased rigor, results cannot be compared to any previous assessment. The 2015 results will serve as a benchmark by which to measure future progress.
The Kansas College and Career Ready standards have raised the bar on what students should know and be able to demonstrate in order to be successful after high school. We support these new standards because they better address the rigor and skills needed to prepare today’s students for success in college and careers.
We know that whether they want to go to college or straight into the workplace, our students need to be able to think critically and solve complex problems. Ensuring that our students have these tools empowers parents and students, because it gives them the ability to make choices about their future and make the most of their opportunities.
Our goal is to prepare every Kansas student for success. – The days of “sit and get” in the classroom are long gone. Our teachers are introducing real-world challenges and concepts and then helping students trust in their own abilities to reason and think critically in order to craft solutions. For some of our older students, this is a dramatic shift in learning and can be uncomfortable, but they’re adapting well and learning perseverance that will serve them well in the future. For our younger students, this approach is all they know and it’s really exciting to watch them take off.
We have to get more students completing some post-secondary education in order to meet the needs of Kansas’ workforce and we believe these standards will help get us there.
- By 2020, it is estimated that 71% of all jobs in Kansas will require some post-secondary education. Today, only 52% of Kansans have “some” post-secondary education. How are we going to close that 20% gap? (Source: Georgetown Public Policy Institute)