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Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core: What Every Educator Needs to Know Hardcover – October 7, 2013
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From the Inside Flap
Written for all educators (with the spotlight on those at the secondary level), this important resource shows teachers and school leaders alike how they can get students ready for college and careers, while simultaneously preparing them for the Common Core assessments. Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core is based on numerous research studies conducted by education expert David T. Conley and insights gained from his work with dozens of effective secondary schools. The book offers techniques and strategies for teaching the Common Core State Standards in ways that result in improved learning for all students.
Conley outlines a comprehensive framework for college and career readiness, which can be used to gauge readiness of both students and schools. His nationally known "Four Keys" model (Key Cognitive Strategies, Key Content Knowledge, Key Learning Skills & Techniques, and Key Transition Knowledge & Skills) specifies the teachable knowledge, skills, and abilities students must have to be effective learners. Most importantly, students must be able to take ownership of their learning and make connections between their aspirations and goals and what they are learning in school.
The book helps educators understand the "big picture" behind the Common Core by showing them how to teach toward the "deeper learning" that research has confirmed leads to more complex understanding and greater retention. This type of learning prepares students for the Common Core assessments and for success in college, careers, and beyond.
The book is ideally suited to study and discussion groups, for use by individual educators, and as a schoolwide resource. Central office administrators, board members, and educational policymakers will also find this book to be an essential resource for understanding college and career readiness and the Common Core.
From the Back Cover
USE THIS BOOK FOR PD!
Includes discussion questions, tools for teachers, and additional resources online.
Praise for Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core
"David Conley's latest work is breathtaking in its scope and depth. Not only does he provide a history of the development of thinking regarding college and career readiness, but he also lays out specific steps that can be taken by schools and districts to ensure that all students have adequate instruction and support to develop the skills necessary for college and career readiness. If the recommendations in this book were to be implemented, it would constitute a true transformation of the current educational system. This is a must-read for educators at all levels." ROBERT MARZANO, CEO, Marzano Research Laboratory
"This book is a must-read for educational leaders, principals, teachers, and even parents. It explains how the Common Core was constructed, clarifying the roots of this movement and explaining where we go from here. Conley debunks the notion that the CCSS is just another passing educational fad. The book offers Common Core implementation strategies for administrators and teachers as they work to align their instructional practices with the higher expectations the CCSS embody." CECELIA CUNNINGHAM, director, Middle College National Consortium
"David Conley is central to America's most important economic development initiativethe quest to boost college and career readiness of America's youth. Everyone who cares about education should read this book for an exploration of the four keys to college and career readiness. Educators will appreciate Conley's take on deeper learning strategies and assessments, his call for more (and better) writing, and his plea to integrate math across the curriculum. The appendix is a valuable nine-part readiness system. This is a timely and important resource." TOM VANDER ARK, author and CEO, Getting Smart
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What the book is
Overall, the book covers the broad topic of college and career readiness, using Conley’s Four Keys to College and Career Readiness as a framework. He provides a strong definition of what it means to be CCR, and what a ready learner looks like. Conley then turns to the CCSS, its history and associated assessments, and how the standards correlate with CCR. He concludes with a discussion on how to assess a wider range of student abilities as well as taking a look at where the field is moving.
What the book is not
While Dr. Conley offers a necessary discussion of the CCSS in the context of CCR, this book is not a how-to on implementing the CCSS, nor does it provide curriculum guides for the standards, or in-depth curriculum maps. The book does give some good ideas on how to understand particularly tricky aspects of the CCSS, but if you’re looking for a “how-to” on CCSS implementation, this is not the book for you. I will note, however, that the accompanying website, [...] does offer a plethora of (free) resources, organized by chapter, that can assist with CCSS implementation.
Overview of chapters
Preface: Don’t skip the lead-on, where Dr. Conley shares his CCR story. His story caused me to reflect on my own, and grounded the following chapters in a more meaningful way.
Intro: Overview of CCR and CCSS challenges and overview of each chapter.
1: A great, concise history of CCR and standards in general. Basically, how we got here in the first place. While I suspect the information in this chapter will not be new to most of us, I thought the brief summary was helpful as a refresher.
2: Dr. Conley offers his definition of CCR, levels of readiness, and connecting student interests to CCR. A great resource, this chapter could really stand on its own and should be required reading for anyone involved in education in this country.
3 and 4: In these two chapters, Conley offers an overview of his Four Keys to CCR, and describes each in-depth.
5 and 6: Deeper learning is described and discussed, several models offered, and the concept explained in the context of CCSS. Conley then explores the deeper learning classroom and student work in such a classroom, a section I found particularly useful.
7: Conley transitions to a careful look at the CCSS, including a history, how they are organized, and implementation challenges. Again, this could be a stand-alone piece, and I really liked how he broke everything down. I’ve spent my fair share of time on the CCSS website, and couldn’t find most of the information Dr. Conley offers. A great resource.
8: A discussion of the CCSS and CCR, including the role of elementary teachers (a topic often overlooked in these types of books), and implementation challenges.
9: An overview of the consortia assessments, which again, I found to be a great resource in understanding the overall assessment picture.
10: Conley offers an alternate assessment option, one that really resonated with me. With all the interest in measuring “soft” “non-cog,” or as Dr. Conley calls them, “metacognitive” skills, this chapter was particularly relevant and thought provoking.
11: The book concludes with a looks at the future of CCSS and CCR.
I definitely recommend this book to k-12 administrators, teachers, policy makers, as well as professionals in the higher education world interested in CCR and CCSS. It would also be an excellent addition to any administrator, counselor, or teacher preparation course at the university level. The text is easy to read and isn’t bogged down with citations—though references are provided on the accompanying website. Each chapter ends with “Awareness and Action Steps,” which can be used to put what is outlined into practice. I do wish Dr. Conley would write something directly for parents on the topic of CCR. Maybe that is something he will consider in the future.