College Readiness Assignments for Texas (CRAfT) is a project based at The University of Texas at Austin and is supported by a generous grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). As part of the CRAfT project, high school and college educators collaborated to develop College Readiness Assignments (CRAs) aligned to the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS).
The CCRS are an important supplement to the curriculum teachers across Texas are already implementing. In addition to the content knowledge Texas students are expected to learn, CCRS also include the key cognitive skills and foundational skills critical to success in life after high school. CRAs are also aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in order to assist instructors with integrating the CRAs into their current curriculum.
One of the goals of the CRAfT project is to address the misalignment that currently exists between the ways of thinking and doing in high school versus those in college and career. Many students experience difficulty when they reach professional positions or college classrooms because these environments require skills of reading, research, and critical thinking rather than a focus on content knowledge.
When asked what they expect from incoming students, college faculty did not indicate that they required much, if any, content knowledge from students. Instead, they expected students to possess:
- Intellectual and historical curiosity
- The ability to read carefully
- The ability to make connections between/among diverse ideas
- The ability to pose questions about the unknown or the uncertain
- The ability to express themselves with a certain degree of clarity Time management and responsibility
These are precisely the skills that CRAs seek to instill and improve in students.
In order to determine the usability and effectiveness of the CRAs, CRAfT invited high school and college educators across Texas to field test the assignments during the 2012-2013 school year. More than 50 faculty in 18 institutions, including high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions, participated in the field test; these faculty delivered CRA instruction to more than 3,500 students. The field testers submitted numerous sources of data including student work products, completed scoring sheets, interviews, and surveys designed to assess field testers’ impressions of the effectiveness of CRAs in improving students’ skills, as well as the usability of CRAs in their classes.
As a result of the field test, we know that faculty found the College Readiness Assignments overall helpful, usable, and effective in improving college and career readiness. In addition, assessments given throughout the field test indicate that there was a statistically significant increase in 16 of 19 dimensions of students’ college and career readiness. Furthermore, based on the feedback faculty provided, CRAfT revised the CRAs and Scoring Guides to improve their usability prior to the statewide launch.
Faculty using the College Readiness Assignments should have confidence that CRAs reflect what is expected for college and career readiness and success. For more details about the data collected during the field test, please click here.
The CRAfT team is available to lead in-person or web-based trainings on readiness and CRAs for your institution/department. We will happily work with you to adapt the training to your educators' needs. We offer trainings as brief as 1 hour, which involves primarily lecture and discussion, and as long as 3 hours, which includes hands-on CRA exploration. If you are interested in having the CRAfT team lead a training at your institution, please contact us.
Project Leadership Team
Cassandre Alvarado, PhD
J. Scott Brownlee, MSLS
Emily A. Johnson, MEd
Terri Kurz, PhD
Hillary Procknow, PhD
Julie Schell, EdD
Web Development, Design & Video Production Team
Lucas Horton, MA
Emily A. Johnson, MEd
Fito Kahn - Multimedia Partners
Brian Schwarz, MFA
Brian Bremen, PhD
Leta Deithloff, PhD
Jason Dowd, PhD
Linda Ferreira-Buckley, PhD
Aaron Smith, MS
Data Management Team
Leslie Kavanaugh, MEd
Kye-Hyoung Lee, MA
Cathy Dudley, BS