CRAfT: New College Readiness Assignments to Launch Fall 2013

The University of Texas in Austin (UT), supported by funding from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), is in the final stages of developing a new, cutting-edge tool created specifically for promoting college and career readiness in the classroom. As the heart of the College Readiness Assignments for Texas (CRAfT) project, college readiness assignments (CRAs) are designed to align with the TEKS and College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) of science, math, English/language arts and social studies, as well as to give a CCR structure to guide teachers in presenting, facilitating and engaging students.

Over the past two years, Dr. Cassandre Alvarado, Assistant Dean at UT, led a team of high school and college-level educators in designing and refining the CRAs. In the 2012-2013 school year, the team conducted a statewide field test in Texas high schools, community colleges and four-year institutions to determine the usability and effectiveness of CRAs. The final process of CRA development begins this summer, as data gathered during the field test will be used to review and refine the existing CRAs.

CRAs are broken down into teacher and student sections. The teacher's section provides an overview of the assignment, which contains objectives, preparation and prior knowledge information to allow for easy implementation. The second aspect of the teacher's section is an instructional plan, which outlines the three components of the CRA: "Getting Started," "Investigating," and "Drawing Conclusions." Additionally, the teacher's section contains scaffolding instructional support, solutions and a listing of CCRS and TEKS addressed within the assignment. 

The students' portion of the CRA includes an introduction to what they are about to learn, step-by-step directions for the activity and any needed handouts. The layout of the students' portion mirrors the teacher's portion, divided into Getting Started, Investigating and Drawing Conclusions. 

Students are engaged in three ways while using a CRA: instructionally by the teacher, individually through reflection and collaboratively through peer communication and dissection of ideas. The student work for CRAs is hands-on, inquiry-based, and relevant to students' future experiences in both college and career.

CRAs will be available for classroom use beginning September 2013. They will be available for public viewing via the upcoming CRAfT website,, which is currently only available for field testers.

For more information about CRAs, please contact Emily Johnson at Also stay tuned for news of the public launch of CRAs via the TXCCRN Newsroom!