Career Readiness, Life Literacies & Key Skills
Rapid advancements in technology and subsequent changes in the economy have created opportunities for individuals to compete and connect on a global scale. In this increasingly diverse and complex world, the successful entrepreneur or employee must not only possess the requisite education for specific industry pathways, but also employability skills necessary to collaborate with others and manage resources effectively in order to establish and maintain stability and independence. This document outlines concepts and skills necessary for New Jersey’s students to thrive in an ever-changing world. Intended for integration throughout all K-12 academic and technical content areas, the 2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards — Career Readiness, Life Literacies, and Key Skills (NJSLS-CLKS) provides the framework for students to learn the concepts, skills, and practices essential to the successful navigation of career exploration and preparation, personal finances and digital literacy.
2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards for
Career Readiness, Life Literacies and Key Skills
Intent and Spirit
The NJSLS-CLKS provide a framework of concepts and skills to be integrated into the foundational, academic and technical content areas to prepare students to engage in the postsecondary options of their choice. Though the standard for 9.3 Career and Technical Education remains unchanged for now, 9.1 Personal Financial Literacy and 9.2 Career Awareness, Exploration, Preparation, and Training have been revised based on the feedback provided by New Jersey educators.
The personal financial literacy standard promotes not only the exploration of money management but also the psychology of spending and saving that influences decisions related to finances. From discovering the concept and forms of money to exploring lines of credit and types of insurance, these standards ensure a robust and comprehensive education in financial literacy from early elementary grades through high school. A new standard, 9.4 Life Literacies and Key Skills, has been added to ensure our students are prepared with the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions to thrive in an interconnected global economy. These standards provide students with a guide to interact in life and work regardless of the setting or context.
Career readiness, life literacies and key skills education provides students with the necessary skills to make informed career and financial decisions, engage as responsible community members in a digital society, and to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities in an interconnected global economy.
An education in career readiness, life literacies, and key skills fosters a population that:
- Continually self-reflects and seeks to improve the essential life and career practices that lead to success;
- Uses effective communication and collaboration skills and resources to interact with a global society;
- Possesses financial literacy and responsibility at home and in the broader community;
- Plans, executes, and alters career goals in response to changing societal and economic conditions; and
- Seeks to attain skill and content mastery to achieve success in a chosen career path.
The structure the NJSLS — Career Readiness, Life Literacies and Key Skills (NJSLS-CLKS) is intended to:
- Promote the development of curricula and learning experiences that reflect the vision and mission of Career Readiness, Life Literacies and Key Skills as stated at the beginning of this document;foster greater coherence and appropriate progressions across grade bands;
- Establish meaningful connections among the major areas of study;
- Prioritize the important ideas and core processes that are central and have lasting value beyond the classroom; and
- Reflect the habits of mind central to Career Readiness, Life Literacies and Key Skills that lead to post-secondary success.
The organization and content of the NJSLS-Career Readiness, Life Literacies and Key Skills include the following areas:
- Standard 9.1 Personal Financial Literacy: This standard outlines the important fiscal knowledge, habits, and skills that must be mastered in order for students to make informed decisions about personal finance. Financial literacy is an integral component of a student's college and career readiness, enabling students to achieve fulfilling, financially-secure, and successful careers.
- Standard 9.2 Career Awareness, Exploration, Preparation and Training: This standard outlines the importance of being knowledgeable about one's interests and talents, and being well informed about postsecondary and career options, career planning, and career requirements.
- Standard 9.3: Career and Technical Education: This standard outlines what students should know and be able to do upon completion of a CTE Program of Study.
- Standard 9.4 Life Literacies and Key Skills: This standard outline key literacies and technical skills such as critical thinking, global and cultural awareness, and technology literacy that are critical for students to develop to live and work in an interconnected global economy.
Career Readiness, Life Literacies, and Key Skills Practices describe the habits of the mind that all educators in all content areas should seek to develop in their students. They are practices that have been linked to increase college, career, and life success. These practices should be taught and reinforced in all content areas with increasingly higher levels of complexity and expectation as a student advances through a program of study.
Act as a responsible and contributing community members and employee
Students understand the obligations and responsibilities of being a member of a community, and they demonstrate this understanding every day through their interactions with others. They are conscientious of the impacts of their decisions on others and the environment around them. They think about the near-term and long-term consequences of their actions and seek to act in ways that contribute to the betterment of their teams, families, community and workplace. They are reliable and consistent in going beyond the minimum expectation and in participating in activities that serve the greater good.
Attend to financial well-being
Students take regular action to contribute to their personal financial well-being, understanding that personal financial security provides the peace of mind required to contribute more fully to their own career success.
Consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of decisions
Students understand the interrelated nature of their actions and regularly make decisions that positively impact and/or mitigate negative impact on other people, organization, and the environment. They are aware of and utilize
new technologies, understandings, procedures, materials, and regulations affecting the nature of their work as it relates to the impact on the social condition, the environment and the profitability of the organization.
Demonstrate creativity and innovation
Students regularly think of ideas that solve problems in new and different ways, and they contribute those ideas in a useful and productive manner to improve their organization. They can consider unconventional ideas and suggestions as solutions to issues, tasks or problems, and they discern which ideas and suggestions will add greatest value. They seek new methods, practices, and ideas from a variety of sources and seek to apply those ideas to their own workplace. They take action on their ideas and understand how to bring innovation to an organization.
Utilize critical thinking to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
Students readily recognize problems in the workplace, understand the nature of the problem, and devise effective plans to solve the problem. They are aware of problems when they occur and take action quickly to address the problem; they thoughtfully investigate the root cause of the problem prior to introducing solutions. They carefully consider the options to solve the problem. Once a solution is agreed upon, they follow through to ensure the problem is solved, whether through their own actions or the actions of others.
Model integrity, ethical leadership and effective management
Students consistently act in ways that align personal and community-held ideals and principles while employing strategies to positively influence others in the workplace. They have a clear understanding of integrity and act on this understanding in every decision. They use a variety of means to positively impact the directions and actions of a team or organization, and they apply insights into human behavior to change others’ action, attitudes and/or beliefs. They recognize the near-term and long-term effects that management’s actions and attitudes can have on productivity, morals and organizational culture.
Plan education and career paths aligned to personal goals
Students take personal ownership of their own education and career goals, and they regularly act on a plan to attain these goals. They understand their own career interests, preferences, goals, and requirements. They have perspective regarding the pathways available to them and the time, effort, experience and other requirements to pursue each, including a path of entrepreneurship. They recognize the value of each step in the education and experiential process, and they recognize that nearly all career paths require ongoing education and experience. They seek counselors, mentors, and other experts to assist in the planning and execution of career and personal goals.
Use technology to enhance productivity increase collaboration and communicate effectively
Students find and maximize the productive value of existing and new technology to accomplish workplace tasks and solve workplace problems. They are flexible and adaptive in acquiring new technology. They are proficient with ubiquitous technology applications. They understand the inherent risks-personal and organizational-of technology applications, and they take actions to prevent or mitigate these risks.
Work productively in teams while using cultural/global competence
Students positively contribute to every team, whether formal or informal. They apply an awareness of cultural difference to avoid barriers to productive and positive interaction. They find ways to increase the engagement and contribution of all team members. They plan and facilitate effective team meetings.
Purpose of NJSLS (N.J.A.C. 6A:8-1.1)
(a) To prepare students for college and career, success in life, and work in an economy driven by information, knowledge, and innovation requires a public education system where teaching and learning are aligned with 21st century learning outcomes. The outcomes move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects and foster a deeper understanding of academic content at much higher levels by promoting critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity through:
- The New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) that specify expectations in nine academic content areas: English language arts; mathematics; visual and performing arts; comprehensive health and physical education; science; social studies; world languages; technology; and 21st century life and careers;
- Indicators at benchmark grade levels delineated in the standards that further clarify expectations for student achievement; and
- Twenty-first century themes and skills integrated into all content standards areas.
Curriculum and Instruction (N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1)
(c) District boards of education shall be responsible for the review and continuous improvement of curriculum and instruction based upon changes in knowledge, technology, assessment results, and modifications to the NJSLS, according to N.J.A.C. 6A:8-2.
- District boards of education shall include interdisciplinary connections throughout the K-12 curriculum.
- District boards of education shall integrate into the curriculum 21st century themes and skills.
- District boards of education shall provide the time and resources to develop, review, and enhance inter-disciplinary connections, supportive curricula, and instructional tools for helping students acquire required knowledge and skills.
Standard 9 Graduation Requirements (N.J.A.C. 6A:8-5.1)
(a) For a State-endorsed diploma, district boards of education shall develop, adopt, and implement local graduation requirements that prepare students for success in post-secondary degree programs, careers, and civic life in the 21st century, and that include the following:
- Participation in a local program of study of not fewer than 120 credits in courses designed to meet all of the NJSLS, including, but not limited to, the following credits:
v. At least 2.5 credits in financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy, effective with 2010-2011 grade nine class;
x. At least five credits in 21st century life and careers, or career-technical education
Financial Literacy in Middle School (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.34)
- The State Board of Education shall require that a school district incorporate in each of the grades six through eight financial literacy instruction to pupils enrolled in those grades. The purpose of the instruction shall be to provide middle school students with the basic financial literacy necessary for sound financial decision-making. The instruction shall meet the requirements established by the State board and shall:
a. be appropriate to, and reflect the age and comprehension of, the students enrolled in the particular grade level; and
b. include content on budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance, investment, and other issues associated with personal financial responsibility as determined by the State board.
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