April 2017
Leveraging ESSA:  Aligning K-12 & Postsecondary Credential Attainment Goals to Support Success for All Students

A streamlined set of goals - all pointing in the same direction - can support and inspire collective action to deliver more youth prepared to engage with the new economy.

This policy brief identifies clear strategies for developing aligned K-12 and higher education goals and outlines how states can use those goals to drive strategic actions to support all youth on their path to attain a postsecondary credential of value.

Goals are only a starting point   states will need to take the next step to identify appropriate supports and acceleration strategies to prepare more students for postsecondary success. Postsecondary systems will not be able to meet their attainment goals unless far more students are prepared for the rigors of college from day one. Read Shannon Gilkey's commentary in the Chronicle, Postsecondary Success Starts in High School , for ideas on how states and institutions can help students realize postsecondary success. 
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents a critical opportunity for state leaders to establish aligned K-12 and higher education goals to increase the number of youth who successfully attain a postsecondary credential of value. Getting more students prepared for higher education is a critical step toward  meeting postsecondary completion goals and, ultimately, a state's long-term economic needs. 
Leveraging ESSA provides strategies for aligning K-12 and higher education goals in state ESSA plans to help students transition successfully from high school to postsecondary education. We will also release follow-up resources that take a deeper dive into standards and assessments later this year.  
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