Getting Smart and Apex Learning Define Student Readiness

Getting Smart, a learning design firm that focuses on innovations in education and the future of learning, and Apex Learning, known for digital curriculum that makes rigorous, standards-based content accessible to all students, have collaborated on a study to define what it means for high school students to be really ready for what comes next. The project identified the most pertinent skills students need to be prepared for the next stage, whether it’s education or work.

According to the findings, students who are really ready for success beyond high school possess the following skills:


  • Critical thinking: Students apply tools and techniques to formulate and solve problems including data analysis, statistical reasoning, scientific inquiry, creative problem solving, nonlinear thinking and persistence.
  • Effective communication: Students clearly organize their data, findings, and thoughts in both written and oral communication, articulating their ideas through public performances and presentations, both online and in-person.
  • Self-direction: Students monitor and direct their own learning, creating processes to help them accomplish their goals and work.
  • Growth mindset: Students believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work and have positive attitudes and beliefs about themselves as learners, increasing academic perseverance.
  • Social and emotional skills: Students understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.

“It is vital that we personalize the learning experience to support all students—from those who are on track to attend college to those students who may be struggling academically as well as students who are English language…

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