Students have big goals for themselves, 94% want to attend college and 70% have career goals that require a college degree.

In our 21st century economy, the reality is that preparing students for good careers generally means preparing them for college. Most will have to continue their education beyond high school to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Schools owe it to students to hold up their end of the bargain, but, sadly, most schools in California are not. Only half of the students across the state graduate meeting the entrance requirements for a public state university. That gap between students’ dreams and the reality they face is even wider for low-income students of color.

In 2018, the state released a new measure of college readiness on the California Dashboard called the College/Career indicator. It looks at how schools are performing on eight measures of college and career readiness. Schools get a color rating based on how many students are “prepared” in the current year and whether or not the school improved from the previous year.

In order to be considered “prepared,” students must meet the requirements under one of eight measures.

Not all of these pathways are a direct path to college. Some are clear college pathways and others are clear career pathways. To effectively advocate for high schools that prepare students for college, it’s important to understand which of the eight offer students the greatest number of options after high school.

When considering which of these eight pathways are best for your child, ask yourself:

  • Does it fulfill a requirement for college admission?
  • Does it prepare my child for college-level coursework?

The College/Career indicator is far from perfect, but it’s a good place to start learning about different pathways students can pursue to get ready for college and how local high schools are doing. Use this information to explore the College/Career indicator outcomes for your high school. Which of these pathways are already available at your school? Are they open to all students and widely known? Where are the gaps in information and support at your school?