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TALKing Points from Dr. Bill Coplin, May 18, 2010

Benchmarks for Career, College and Citizenship Readiness
Bill Coplin, Syracuse University
Agenda for TALKS
1.    Some Basic Concepts
2.    10 Things Skills List Presented and Discussed
3.    Five Steps to Promote Skills for Career, College and Citizenship
4.    Coming up with Benchmarks
Some Basic Concepts
The 3CSkills Cooperative—open source website of materials for teachers to provide students with everyday skills for careers, college and citizenship.

—students will have the tools and experiences necessary to explore a variety of career fields and to be effective workers.

—students will have tools and experiences necessary to plan their education after high school.  We use the term “college” as shorthand for everything ranging from the college of hard knocks and apprenticeships to the traditional liberal arts colleges. Students will also build the skills necessary to be successful in whatever educational path they take.

—students will have the tools and experiences necessary to exercise the rights and take on the responsibilities of effective citizens.
10 Things Skills List—the skills list is provided on the next page.  It is based on my book, 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College (Ten Speed Press, 2003)

---a series of measureable goals to assess the degree to which high schools build skills for career, college and citizenship 
10 Things Skills List 1.0 ESTABLISHING A WORK ETHIC
1.1 Kick Yourself in the Butt   
1.2 Be Honest 
1.3 Manage Your Time
1.4 Manage Your Money                  2.0 DEVELOPING PHYSICAL SKILLS
2.1 Stay Healthy
2.2 Look Presentable
2.3 Type Well
2.4 Take Legible Notes 3.0 COMMUNICATING VERBALLY
3.1 Converse One-on-One 
3.2 Present to Groups
3.3 Use Visual Displays
4.1 Write Well                            
4.2 Edit and Proof 
4.3 Use Word-Processing Tools 
4.4 Send Information Electronically            
5.1 Build Good Relationships       
5.2 Work in Teams
5.3 Teach Others 6.0 INFLUENCING PEOPLE
6.1 Manage Efficiently                      
6.2 Sell Successfully
6.3 Politick Wisely
6.4 Lead Effectively
7.1 Use Library Holdings                 
7.2 Use Commercial Databases   
7.3 Search the Web
7.4 Conduct Interviews
7.5 Use Surveys
7.6 Keep and Use Records                   
8.1 Use Numbers                              
8.2 Use Graphs and Tables 
8.3 Use Spreadsheet Programs
9.1 Detect Nonsense   
9.2 Pay Attention to Detail
9.3 Apply Knowledge
9.4 Evaluate Actions and Policies
10.1 Identify Problems   
10.2 Develop Solutions 
10.3 Launch Solutions  

The list of skills first appeared in Bill Coplin’s 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College (Ten Speed Press, 2003) and now serves as the basis for the educational materials and publications of 3C Skills Cooperative. Bill Coplin can be contacted at  Educational materials for high school and college can be downloaded free of charge from

Five Steps to Promote Everyday Skills for Careers, College and Citizenship
Step 1: Use the Same List of Skills Consistently
•    A skill list can have a powerful effect if supported by faculty and administrators and understood by students, parents and community stakeholders.
•    Students will know what they are supposed to learn from a clear, simple and concrete list.
Step 2: Implement Policies that Hold Students Accountable 
•    High school programs must maintain consistent, fair and adequately supported policies to ensure responsible student behavior.
•    Proper behavior is essential for success in the workforce and college and the exercise of citizenship.

Step 3: Allow Students and Other Stakeholders to Have a Sustained and Effective Voice in School Governance
•    Participation in high school governance will develop many of the 10 Things Skills especially those dealing with asking and answering the right questions and problem-solving.
•    Students will learn citizenship by being allowed to participate in key decision making bodies, even as non-voting members, and by seeing
     community stakeholders have a voice in school decisions.
•    Student government should be well organized and should be given meaningful roles in school governance.

Step 4: Create Graduation and/or Course Requirements for Experienced-Based Activities
•    Participation in experience-based activities provides essential practice for skill development.
•    Rigorous evaluation of these activities as part of school credit and/or graduation requirements is necessary to make them powerful learning experiences.
•    Activities and their evaluations could contribute to an e-Portfolio throughout high school and college.

Step 5: Configure Physical Facilities to Allow for Individual Computer Work and Group Projects
•    Schools need to have more flexible physical settings to accommodate individual computer work and group work.
•    An office-based school where students have their own office space as the primary location would be the “ideal” physical setting for developing skills for career, college and citizenship.
•    Schools should seek to have students spend 50% of their time at a computer or in group project activities. 
Coming Up with Benchmarks for the Five Steps
How can we measure schools in terms of:

Skills List
Holding Students Accountable
Students/Stakeholders in School Governance
Required Evaluated Experiences for All
Flexible Physical Facilities

Contact Bill to share your ideas for benchmarking each of the five steps:
Panel Discussion
Colonel Kevin W. Bradley, 174th Fighter Wing Commander, New York Air National Guard
Reading is key:  Poor reading skills are an obstacle to entry into the Air Aational Guard.

Financial literacy:  Bad credit precludes one for service in the Air Force as it may lead to a security weakness.

Situational awareness:  Know what game you are playing, what the rules are, who the players are.

The Air Force is technology-driven:  F16, Reapers–remotely powered aircraft (i.e. drones)

Two work forces:  Officers—college grads; Enlisted Personnel—typically high school  grads—both groups are technology-driven.
Lem Byers, Regional Manager, K-12 Northeast, Apple Inc.  
Technology skills are a base-knowledge for potential hires (i.e. PowerPoint)

How do you harness all of the technology to build an effective team? 

Technology disappears--Kids coming out of high school and college already know how to do all that.  How do you find the right people to influence other folks to get the job done?

Looking for self-starters, coachable, willing to be coached, tech-savvy
Jim Carey, Business Professor, Onondaga Community College  
Key Skills

1.  Time management
2.  Planning for long-term projects
3.  Group work

College students are "thrown to the wolves" as professors expect them to have the above skills for success in their courses.
Peter Headd, Assistant Director of Extended Learning, Onondaga Community College
"College has changed more in the last 5 years than it has in the last 20."

Academics are more dependent on technology--"On-line learning has significantly impacted learning today."

On-line courses can offer more freedom and opportunities for students, but may negatively impact the integrity of a course.
Kimberly Laxton, Junior, Le Moyne College  
Technology-related tools are introduced early at college as part of orientation:  common reading materials, Blackboard, and blogs to share common experiences.

Students have the jump on professors with technology skills:  Classes are technology-based; but not all the professors are up to speed.

Digital media available via library data bases are key for information-gathering.
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