The results of a survey by the Wyoming Department of Education on post-secondary preparation indicate that career readiness ranks just above college readiness for most respondents. People also say that problem solving and oral and written communication, are essential skills.
The survey was sent out to stakeholders last month as part of the WDE’s work on a new accountability plan as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
Of the 550 responses, the largest number came from educators who belong to the Wyoming Education Association. Association president Kathy Vetter said she was pleased with teachers' level of participation because input from practitioners who work directly with students is essential.
The results showed almost 99 percent of respondents agreed that high school students should be prepared to pursue a career. And over 97 percent of respondents indicated agreement that students should be prepared for a two year college, and 96 percent of respondents indicated agreement that students should be prepared for a four-year college.
Vetter said she wasn’t surprised that career readiness was such a big priority. "Having our students prepared to go into whatever career field they choose would be the number one thing that most educators would want." She said that’s true whether that career choice requires a doctorate or just on the job training.
Respondents were also asked to indicate the skills valued most in a Wyoming high school graduate. Problem solving, written and oral communication, persistence, and STEM skills were ranked in the top four.
Vetter said the results of the survey indicate support for a more comprehensive approach to preparing students for life.
"It’s saying we want well rounded citizens, so that when our students graduate from high school they are able to do problem solving, and they are able to choose their career path and be ready for it. It isn’t about how many classroom hours or how much seat time they have, or necessarily their score on a test."
Vetter said she hoped the survey results help develop accountability measures that ensure students leave high school prepared to pursue the future of their choice.