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A Roadmap to Employability: Integrating Higher-Order Skills Into Curricula and Assessment

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Students taking notes

Presented by Johnny Key, Partner, Strategos Group, and Former Secretary of Education, Arkansas Department of Education; Doug Mesecar, Partner, Strategos Group, and Former Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Education; and Doris Zahner, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer, CAE

Sponsored by CAE

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As far back as 2006, former Secretary of Education Richard Riley said, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist …” That statement is even more relevant today given the increasingly rapid rate of technological change. To prepare students to be successful in tomorrow’s workplace, students must not only have deep content knowledge but also the skills to apply that knowledge.

During this edLeader Panel, state, district, and school leaders have the opportunity to:

  • Learn how state and federal funding and policy can support the integration of higher-order skills into instruction, curricula, and assessment
  • Gain insight from the former state superintendent of Arkansas about how to design a K–12 educational system that truly prepares students for employability and entrepreneurship
  • Explore how higher-order skills connect with and complement content knowledge
  • See examples of innovative ways districts are teaching and measuring higher-order skills across curricula

Tune into this session for actionable guidance to ensure your students graduate with the knowledge, skills, and experience they’ll need to be successful in college, career, and life. This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to K-12 school and district leaders.

Johnny Key

About the Presenters

Before joining Strategos Group, Johnny Key served as Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Education from 2019 to 2023 and as Commissioner of the Department from 2015 to 2019, overseeing the state’s 237 school districts and 18 charter school systems. Under Johnny’s leadership, the department developed a vision to transform Arkansas into a national leader of student-focused education. Arkansas became a national leader in computer science and literacy education. Johnny was also Vice President for University Relations at the University of Arkansas System from 2014 to 2015. Johnny also served as a state senator in Arkansas from 2009 to 2014, holding leadership positions, including Minority Leader and Chair of the Senate Education Committee, among others. Johnny was a state representative from 2003 to 2008.

Doug Mesecar

Doug Mesecar ranks among the small number of education consultants who have worked as an education policymaker, entrepreneur, and executive in the private sector. He has built a track record of success with deep knowledge about what drives the K-12 market, from the economic buyer to everyday user. A former teacher, Doug served at the U.S. Department of Education as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Department and Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Innovation and Improvement. He also served in the U.S. Congress as a professional staff member for the House Education and Workforce Committee. He held senior executive positions for companies serving the K-12 market, including IO Education (now Illuminate), Sylvan Learning, and Scholastic Education.

Dr. Doris Zahner

Dr. Doris Zahner is the Chief Academic Officer at CAE, where she provides thought leadership and oversees all research and development studies pertaining to CAE’s performance-based assessments. Dr. Zahner holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and an MS in applied statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to her responsibilities at CAE, Dr. Zahner is an adjunct associate professor at Barnard College and Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as New York University, where she teaches statistics courses to undergraduate and graduate students in the social sciences and public policy.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the College, Career, and Life Readiness community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Since 2002, CAE has developed performance-based and custom assessments that authentically measure students’ essential academic and career skills. Our Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) and Success Skills Assessment (SSA+) for higher education and College and Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA+) for secondary education evaluate the skills that are predictive of positive college and career outcomes and in demand by employers: critical thinking, problem solving and effective written communication. Over 825,000 students at more than 1,300 secondary and higher education institutions globally have completed CAE’s essential skills assessments.

As a nonprofit whose mission is to improve student outcomes, CAE also offers critical thinking skills curriculum, professional development, and designs custom, innovative performance assessments across all subject areas and grades. To learn more, please visit and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Future careers are built in classrooms, today. Help your students develop the skills they'll need


Tuesday, September 19, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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