A career pathway is an organized grouping of demanding academic and career-related courses that take a student from education to employment. A pathway identifies each step, skill, educational requirement, and aptitude a student needs to be successful within a specific career. Pathways are grouped within bigger “Career Clusters.”
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Computer-Based Assessments
The Career Pathways assessments only test student learning and readiness for a specific career. Any current assessment used to test outside of this scope will continue.
High school students will take the tests to determine if they are ready to enter a postsecondary program, apprenticeship, or work in an entry-level position or in a job closely related to their program of study.
Students will take the field and computer-based test whenever they feel they are ready. It is the hope that students will work toward their career competency qualifications throughout their high school experience, using skills in a real-world setting as they are mastered.
The assessments will have both computer-based and field-based performance tasks. The computer-based assessment will use multiple-choice, constructed response, and innovative item test questions (e.g., drag-and-drop).
The career pathways tests will help indicate if and/or when a student is ready to enter a postsecondary program, apprenticeship, or entry-level position in or closely related to their program of study. These tests will not be a “licensure” test where a student who achieves a passing score is eligible for a certain career or program. Instead, the tests are a tool for postsecondary programs and industries to determine if a student is ready for a specific career.
Currently active pathways and their testing windows are located on our homepage. Blueprints for these and additional examinations still under development are available on our Test Specifications page. Additional updates on examinations under development may be periodically released and a note will be added to the homepage.
Pathways with active examinations are detailed on our homepage. Blueprints for these and other pathways still under development are available on our Test Specifications page. Additional pathways will be developed for other careers based on demand, and in consultation with state departments of education.
The nine selected pathways were prioritized based on their classification as high-wage, high-skill, and/or high-demand. These first eight tests will be the start; the collaborative hopes to eventually create up to 80 pathways.
Score reports are generated at the conclusion of the testing window in May of each year. Our most popular pathways are processed first, but reports for all pathways are typically available by June.
When score reports become available, authorized users can access those reports in Educator Portal and distribute them to students.
Yes, cPass® is strongly supported by employers and state agencies.
For example, according to the Kansas Department of Agriculture, “students passing the cPass agriculture assessments show a breadth of knowledge and skills that make them desirable employees of the agriculture industry in Kansas.”
The Collaborative produces score reports for each student that detail each student’s performance on the assessments. Score reports include details for each computer-based and field-based assessment a student participated in.
Reports are typically processed in the month of May, after which students may receive their scores from authorized individuals – typically a student’s teacher or personnel from the student’s school district. The Collaborative does not distribute individual score reports directly to students at this time.
About the Career Competency Qualifications (CCQ)
CCQs are standardized, performance-based tasks that show whether a student has the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to enter into the workforce or pursue further training or postsecondary education related to a specific career pathway. CCQs are created by experienced subject matter experts, including secondary teachers, postsecondary teachers, and industry professionals. CCQs can be customized for state- or region-specific needs.
CCQs serve both summative and formative educational purposes. They assess knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics above and beyond the corresponding computer-based tests, and they provide feedback for content mastery.
The process involves multiple steps, including CCQ and rubric development, validation (e.g., validation survey and cognitive labs), governing board review, rater training, and pilot testing. Read the Career Competency Qualifications page for more information.
Each career pathway will have its own CCQ committee consisting of at least two subject matter experts from each state and a representative who serves the interests of the collaborative. CCQ committee members are nominated by their state representatives.
Students earn a Career Competency Qualification when they complete a series of tasks similar to what an individual would perform in a real-world setting. Students will be required to complete a certain number of CCQs for the General Assessment and for their specific career pathway (e.g., Plant Systems, Comprehensive Agriculture).
About the Collaborative
Yes, other states can join. The Career Pathways Collaborative was created to share ideas and resources across states in order to create high-quality, cost-effective tests.
States will get joint ownership of tests they financially sponsor. Thus, they will have the option to administer those tests at a reduced cost. They will also have a seat on the governance board, input into all the test definitions, and the option to administer any other tests developed by the collaborative for a small license fee.
Yes. Non-member states can administer the tests for a fee, but over the long run, it is more cost-effective to join the collaborative.
Currently, there are two states in the collaborative, Colorado and Kansas.