What is the College and Career Readiness Rate?
Each year, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) releases information about the percentage of graduating seniors that are considered ready for college or careers. This statistic is informally referred to as the college and career readiness rate, and officially known as the English Language Arts and Mathematics Aspirational Performance Measure (APM).
The APM represents the percentage of the 12th grade senior class who meet the following criteria:
Graduated with a Local, Regents, or Regents with Advanced Designation diploma,
Earned a 75 or greater on their English Language Arts Regents examination, AND
Earned an 80 or greater on a Mathematics Regents examination
Students must meet all three criteria to be considered ready for college or careers, so the APM only reflects graduating seniors who achieve these aspirational scores on their Regents exams. Students who graduate after June of their fourth year of high school, earn a GED, or drop out are not included in this rate at all.
Is the APM a good measure of readiness?
Put another way, the college readiness rate tells us whether students who are graduating from high school on time are demonstrating basic proficiency in both English and Math.
Thus, the APM really only captures academic readiness for college or careers. Other important components of readiness (such as interpersonal competencies, good character, or trade skills) aren’t measured by this rate.
In all fairness, NYSED is quite open about the fact that academic readiness is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to helping young people become ready for college or careers. And as you might guess, assessing intangible qualities such as grit, integrity, or time management is not exactly easy.
Looking to the Future
While we here at Westchester Children’s Association (along with many others, I imagine) would love to see a readiness measure that captures essential non-academic skills, any new measure would be in addition to, not in place of, an academic measure of readiness.
We hope that someday soon there will be a college and career readiness rate that gives us a more well-rounded picture of whether Westchester’s young people are ready for adulthood. Yet as we wrote recently, a student’s ability to read, write, and perform basic math is a key contributor to their success in the workforce and in post-secondary education.
The need for data about students’ academic readiness isn’t going away. New York’s APM may not be a perfect measure, but it gives us a starting point for important conversations about preparing our young people for the future.