The employability skills requirement for high school graduation in Indiana is among the most well-designed in the nation. Students have the opportunity to apply the soft skills that employers value in the workplace and that they have been learning about since kindergarten. In addition, they can choose a way to demonstrate these skills that gives them hands-on experience in their chosen career path. While this change is an improvement to the Graduation Pathways options, tracking employability skills for graduates has proven to be difficult to track for many administrators, counselors, and advisors. Standard For Success Graduation Pathways software simplifies the process immensely. The program creates a hub for guidance counselors and administrators to do all of the following in one place:
- track the process for individual students
- communicate with students
- collect documentation and supporting evidence
Tracking Student Progress in Pathways
Pathways software is designed with three boxes to keep track of the three major categories of requirements for graduation: diploma, employability skills, and postsecondary-ready competencies. Box 2 is for employability skills. Counselors can check off which of the three options a student is targeting or whether they are still undecided. When students complete the requirement, counselors check the completion box, which will update the header for Box 2 at the top of the page, making it easy to see at a glance which requirements have been met.
Communicating with Students
When counselors need to inform or remind a student about validation requirements, they can go into the student’s record and click to send an email. Pathways provides email templates specifically designed for each of the three employability skills options: project-based, service-based, and work-based. Counselors can add specific information to the template and click to send the email to the student. When the student replies, Box 2 will show that a student response has been received. The counselor can then take action on the response and reply to the student.
Counselors are saved the trouble of having to go into their work email account to communicate with students. They can also view all students who have sent responses at one time, rather than going into individual students’ records. To do this, they go to the reports section of Pathways and view all students who have sent validation responses.
Documenting Students’ Validation of Skills
Pathways allows for students’ documentation of their employability skills requirement to be uploaded by the student and stored in the program. When counselors send a validation request email to students from Pathways, it includes a form for students to fill out. Students can add a narrative describing their experience and attach any forms that are needed to prove that the requirement has been met. Pathways also provides checkboxes for counselors to keep track of whether the documentation is sufficient, whether it needs more work, or whether additional documentation is required. This way, counselors can see at a glance exactly what the status is on the student’s documentation.
Counselors and administrators want their students to graduate on time and with the best possible chance for success in the future, and that requires tracking employability skills for graduates. Pathways helps to make the all-important employability skills requirement easy to manage.