ESC 3 Implements College Readiness Assignments

February 2014 | Houston, Texas
BY: Amy Williams

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, the Education Service Center 3, located in Victoria, Texas, hosted a College Readiness Assignments for Texas (CRAfT) training session featuring UT at Austin Research Assistant Hillary Procknow, Ph.D. and Program Coordinator Emily Johnson, M.Ed. The College Readiness Assignments (CRA), developed by the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), were released in August 2013.

CRAs are stand-alone lessons that high school teachers from all five content areas can use to build key cognitive and foundational skills, as well as content knowledge. CRAs are built around the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS).

The training consisted of mostly junior and senior high school mathematics teachers, but also included math and science facilitators, and an English/language arts reading specialist.

ESC 3 is one of the smallest regions in Texas, serving about 50,000 students and forty school districts, yet it is eager to incorporate college and career readiness practices to support the growing culture in the region.

Jamie Purcell, social studies education specialist - TEKS Resources, Project Share, and STAAR One of ESC 3, facilitated the training and noted key aspects about the CRAs that teachers found most useful.

"Learning that the lessons are adaptable — they are not something that is set in stone,” said Purcell. “You can kind of take and pick and choose the points that are relevant to what you are doing; there was some feedback that that was a selling point.”

Purcell also acknowledged participants’ appreciation that CRAs focused on career readiness. CRAs are designed to aid in the growth of students’ reading, research and critical thinking skills, which are necessary in the professional world.

Perhaps the most influential aspect about the CRA training was the fact that the CRA's development stemmed from educators who had high school and developmental college knowledge. 

“High school teachers are often a little bit weary of things that come out of the colleges,” said Purcell. “Learning that these lessons were developed by educators who teach the developmental courses in college for those students who come to college and are not prepared … that helped bridge the gap between high school and higher education.”

CRA trainings are occurring in many of the 20 ESC Regions across the state of Texas. If you would like to see this happen in your region, visit the CRAfT website for more information! Also, if you are an educator in ESC Region 3 and have questions regarding CRA training or process, please contact Jamie Purcell or Cheryl Shamburger for more information.