Starting the Discussion: Employability Standards




It’s the State of Alaska’s fault, really.  This is their standard from the State of Alaska website:

“EMPLOYABILITY STANDARD 1:  A student should be able to develop and be able to use employability skills in order to effectively make the transition from school to work and lifelong learning.


 A student who meets the content standard should: 

1) develop and maintain a work ethic necessary for success in the workplace that includes honesty, integrity, dependability, punctuality, self-discipline, initiative, reliability, accuracy, productivity, respect, and perseverance; “


The question comes, how do we measure that?  How do you as a student and I as a teacher provide data that we are teaching and you are learning how to do this standard?

This affects so much in your schooling: 
…turn in a paper on time, you are dependable and punctual. 
…decide to jump into a project that is beyond what is required, you have initiative. 
…speak softly and with great compassion, you have respect.
…admit that you made poor choices instead of coming up with excuses, you have integrity.

So I’m giving this back to you.  We need to start this talk because accountibility is coming for this standard and I don’t know how to measure it.  Here are some questions to think about, and post about, please.

1.  What actually do all those words up there mean? 
2.  How can we measure it? 

This is a brainstorm.  Anything goes.  Nothing is stupid.  I really want to know what you think.  It’s your education, not mine…(or is it?)



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6 Comments to “Starting the Discussion: Employability Standards”

  1.   Kilina Says:

    I think that we should stick to the regular grades scale, because when we go to college, that is how they do it, and it would mess up our scholarship thing, and we may not be able to get scholarships.

  2.   Blake Klaich Says:

    I agree with the standard.

  3.   Chris Normandin Says:

    For the past several or more years, I have been covering what I call, “Life Skills,” with my students. These include integrity, common sense, initiative, trustworthyness, responsibility, and many more. I introduce these one by one, between the bells in the morning. We discuss what they are, and learn about a real person, either living or deceased, that exibited that particular life skill. We also discuss different opportunities or things that the children can do to show that they are proficient at the particular life skill(s).

    This year, for the first time I have begun evaluating my students on the life skill(s) covered during a week of instruction. They are aware of this and I report their progress on EdLIne. This system of reporting using our current grading system has flaws and is a work in progress.

    My thought at this moment is that, if and when we move to standards -based learning in the elementary and in the rest of the school, that in order to evaluate students on the employability standard, students will have to demonstrate their proficiency with certain behaviors in much the same way as I observe for them now. They would have to “live” the standard. Attendance keeps track of punctuality, observing a student on-task and turning in quality work on time would reflect productivity, not being upset when the schedule changes would reflect flexibility, etc. More thoughts later, but here’s a question: How can we set up a system to evaluate this standard that would be standardized?

  4.   Eric Mametieff Says:

    I think personaly that, we shouldn’t use the standerds, and just go to how we were doing it before, cause school is to help us prepere for life not on how to do standerds. Collage doesn’t use standerds, it just making sure if you know a topic and then you go to the next. So, I think that instead of trying to do everything on standerds based, that we should just do to how we always did things.

  5.   Kikila Says:

    I agree. That sounds right.

  6.   Mrs. Heather Pancratz Says:

    Yes. I agree the material does seem somewhat objective. I understand Kilina’s concerns about college; however, one of the disappointing aspects of college is that it doesn’t really prepare us for life, work, or even teaching. I knew how to give my teachers back what they needed, but I was not proficient at knowing how to learn.

    So, while employability standards are really important for fulfilling the basic requirements of working; I am also concerned that we spend the necessary time teaching students (and ourselves) how to learn, make decisions, plan projects, and work together as a team in a quality way. No one wants robots who only fulfill the requirements of an assignment without any thought put to it, because that’s not really learning. I don’t want to compromise the employability standards, but if we put pressure on the employability standards before we know how to learn, we may be just doing what we always did.

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