Gas station without pumps

2011 October 28

Oregon’s National Career Readiness Certificate

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 05:59
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I just found out about Oregon’s National Career Readiness Certificate, which appears to be a test of high-school level competency in reading and math.  It appears to be replacing the high-school diploma in Oregon as certification of minimal competence for jobs seekers.  The number of people with such certificates is still small (under 11,000), but that is about 22% of a high school cohort in Oregon (or a 1/3 of a graduating class, since only 2/3 of an Oregon high school cohort graduates in 4 years).  Note: Oregon is doing even worse than California, which has a 4-year graduation rate of 3/4.

Because high school diplomas have gotten almost meaningless in most states, with graduation standards so low that employers can’t count on much from students who have them, having an independent certificate of minimal competency could be valuable.  The certificates are probably even more valuable for people who dropped out of high school, since the lack of a high school diploma is normally seen as proof of incompetence, when that need not actually be true (students drop out for many reasons, not just incompetence).

I normally think and write more about the educational needs of students at the top of the ability spectrum, because I teach graduate students in a challenging field and my own child is highly skilled, and so I see the holes at the high end most clearly.  I do care, however, about students at all levels of ability, and I think that the career readiness certificate may offer some hope of decent employment for those who fail to finish high school—certainly it seems to be attracting more people than the GED certificate does. I wonder whether California will implement a similar system, or buy into Oregon’s claim of “national” career readiness and join them in a shared certificate.

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