The US population is more diverse than ever. We now count more than 300 million people with unique cultures, identities, and backgrounds. Younger groups are even more diverse. The post-millennial generation (1997-2012) is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in US history.
There is also a diversity of choices for students. Not every student wants to or should attend college. Some look to the military or burgeoning opportunities in the skilled trades. Schools need to provide resources for students beyond those headed to post-secondary education and make them feel valued regardless of their choices.
When you’re executing a school or district-wide career and college readiness experience for students, an academic plan provides dignity and equity to their choices. Ensuring that the plan is effective requires data collection and formal tracking, which can create challenges of their own.
The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015
The Every Student Succeeds Act was created to advance equity in K-12 schools. The Act requires all students to be taught to standards preparing them to succeed in college and careers. But so much of the focus in schools today is still about pointing students toward college. It can disenfranchise those who aren’t headed to a four-year college program and make them feel like they aren’t valued.
Implementing these standards means educators can provide equitable principles for education programs and career planning, including:
- Valuing diversity of choices
- Promoting the capacity for self-assessment
- Understanding the dynamics of equitable learning
- Customizing for different learning styles and career goals
- Encouraging discovery
An equitable career and college readiness plan also requires instituting systems for tracking and management to ensure that schools and school districts are measuring up to their goals. That’s where many of the challenges come in.
Challenges in Student Academic Plan Tracking
For many school districts, establishing and managing an efficient student academic plan and process around career and college readiness, while tracking effectiveness and progress, is a daunting task. It takes a district-wide commitment to overcome these challenges.
Unconsolidated Data Streams
Without a centralized, coordinated effort, different schools and locations might employ different methods. There needs to be a consolidated approach to data collection that enables standardization and reporting to evaluate and measure success.
Data is only as useful as your ability to analyze and report it. Many legacy systems require manual tracking and data entry. This can lead to errors, and data may be lacking in the areas needed for consolidation.
Privacy and Access
Depending on how data is collected, stored, and accessed, there may be privacy concerns. Since student academic plans may contain sensitive data, privacy and access controls are essential. Districts also need to limit access to only those authorized to view the data.
School districts have strict compliance regulations for the collection, use, and disclosure of data, including:
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
- The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) of 1978
- The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA)
FERPA prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of education records for any school districts receiving federal funds. PPRA regulates the collection and use of student information from surveys. COPPA applies to online service providers that collect information for users under the age of thirteen.
Student Academic Plan Tracking Solutions
To overcome the challenges of student academic plan tracking, you need a reliable, secure, and compliant solution that standardizes data collection and access.
That’s where XAP’s solutions excel. XAP delivers a comprehensive and proven online solution called Choices360 that promotes academic and career readiness among students and aids school districts in fostering equitable career planning programs.
By utilizing a centralized platform, districts can track students individually, by school, and by district. Data can be rolled up into centralized reports, with the ability to drill down to individual school and student levels.
Students can take self-assessments to explore careers and pathways. These can help educators gain insight into a student’s:
- Learning styles
- Personality types
Educators can then use this information to build equitable career plans to help students achieve their goals.
This information builds a motivational foundation for planning for educators and students. Choices360 helps students see the connection between their high school course plans and potential careers. As students progress toward their goals, they can find higher education schools that match them and apply online or learn about apprenticeships, technical schools, military careers, and other work-based learning experiences..
Choices360 offers a professional center for counselors that enables you to review work, run reports, submit electronic transcripts, integrate with Common App, and customize curriculum and course planning.
All this saves time by streamlining the process, standardizing the data for analysis, and providing the data needed to monitor and improve outcomes.
Helping Students Prepare for Careers
Thousands of K-12 institutions, colleges, and universities have deployed XAP solutions to help students explore careers and plan their futures.
Here at XAP, we believe that exploration lays the foundation for planning. That’s why we help school and district counseling leaders implement equitable programs and strategies to ensure that students graduate high school not only with a diploma but also with a plan.
To see how we can help you better support your students and drive state, district, and school initiatives with greater ease, transparency, and data, feel free to contact our specialists today!