State Definitions

There is little agreement regarding what exactly the term “college and career-readiness” means. Definitions have been set at the state level, and vary widely in their clarity. Some states have adopted one definition for the overarching term “college- and career-readiness,” while others have separate definitions for college-readiness and career-readiness, and still others have adopted no statewide definition for either term.

Though definitions are highly varied, there are a few common indicators used to measure college- and career- readiness for populations of high school students. These measures include: enrollment in postsecondary education, placement into credit-bearing postsecondary coursework, persistence toward a postsecondary degree, and ultimately, earning of a postsecondary credential. Most states use these data to provide information on students’ postsecondary outcomes to their high schools.