21st Century Learning and Workforce Readiness
College and career readiness are integrally entwined; success requires many of the same skills. As our economy becomes more global, there is a clear outcry about the need to develop student's creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and citizenship skills if they are to compete in the workplace.
The most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results indicate that 15-year olds in the US ranked below average on every metric: 17th in reading, 20th in science, and 27th in mathematics. These same US students will find themselves competing throughout their adult careers with their peers on both a local and a global level. A major concern reported by the PISA board was the inability of US students to translate their content knowledge into real world situations and effectively communication solutions to real world problems ("PISA", 2012). Not coincidentally, US employers report similar concerns about college graduates. According to a study commissioned by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the top three skills employers seek in college graduates are 1) the ability to collaborate effectively, 2) a clear and grounded understanding of science and technology, and 3) the ability to write and communicate clearly (Hart, 2006). Within the U.S., a study of colleges found that nearly half of incoming freshman require remediation classes - and that only counts the students accepted to a 4-year college immediately after high school graduation. Clearly, secondary schools need to do more to support students' creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship skills.