Giving Compass' Take:

Although ESSA has indicators of college and career readiness at different schools, most state rating systems vary on how they define those metrics.

What are the significant challenges for rural schools when it comes to preparing their students for college?

Here are four ways to boost college and career readiness.

As parents and business leaders push for college and career readiness as a measure of educational success, 44 states have now included such indicators in their new plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) or in their own state rating systems, though the way readiness is measured varies widely from state to state, Education Week reports.

Roughly 36 states use high school coursework — such as Advanced Placement (AP) or dual-enrollment classes — as a measure of college readiness while college entrance tests are another popular measure.

Many states have selected college and career readiness as an indicator in their ESSA plans because it makes sense to see such readiness as a goal of education. And using tests is a natural way to determine whether students will be likely to succeed beyond high school.

However, these are not the only measures of readiness, and perhaps not even the best ones, particularly when it comes to career readiness.

Non-cognitive skills and so-called "soft skills" are often better indicators of success in the workplace and even in college, though these skills are not easily measured because they require a qualitative, observational process as opposed to a quantitative assessment. Workplace experiences and credentials are other indicators of career readiness as well.

When it comes to preparing students for college and career options, not all schools are able to offer the same opportunities. Rural schools, for instance, often struggle to offer workplace experiences when there are few industries around with the capacity to provide them.

Rural schools may have to look to online options to offer AP classes or dual enrollment opportunities. Even some industry-standard credentials can be earned online. With the new options that technology provides, schools stand a better chance than ever at making students career and college ready.

Read the full article about college and career readiness by Amelia Harper at Education Dive