Compare the TEKS of Career Investigation to the Game of Real Life

Chapter 127. of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) applies to courses offered for Career Development for middle school students.  This document reproduces the requirements from the state of Texas and compares the Game of Real Life middle school course, Connecting the Dots (CTD). Comparison comments are in red.

§127.1. Implementation of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career Development, Middle School.
The provisions of this subchapter shall be implemented by school districts beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, with the exception of §127.2 of this title (relating to Career Investigations). Section 127.2 of this title was implemented September 1, 1998, and will be superseded by §127.3 and §127.4 beginning with the 2010-2011 school year.

§127.3. Exploring Careers.
(a) General requirements. This course is recommended for students in Grades 7-8.

Game of Real Life, Connecting the Dots is age appropriate for 7th & 8th grade students and offered as a summer bridge between 7th, 8th and 9th grade.

(b) Introduction. The career development process is unique to every person and evolves throughout one’s life.

Students will use decision-making and problem-solving skills for college and career planning. Students will explore valid, reliable educational and career information to learn more about themselves and their interests and abilities. Students integrate skills from academic subjects, information technology, and interpersonal communication to make informed decisions. This course is designed to guide students through the process of investigation and in the development of a college and career achievement plan. Students will use interest inventory software or other tools to explore areas of personal interest. Students will use this information to explore educational requirements for a variety of chosen career paths. Districts have the flexibility of offering career exploration knowledge and skills in a variety of instructional arrangements.

Connecting the Dots is offered to students with the same objectives.  It also provides for interaction with the professional community so that students understand how personal interests can be achieved in today’s and tomorrow’s careers.

(c) Knowledge and skills
(1) The student explores personal interests and aptitudes as they relate to education and career planning. The student is expected to:

  • (A) complete, discuss, and analyze the results of personality, career interest, and aptitude assessments; CTD utilizes a Rutgers University interest assessment based on the work of John Holland’s Theory of Vocational Development.  Each student identifies the career areas – Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional (RIA-SEC) – which relates to his interests. Unit 2 – 1,2,3
  • (B) explore the career clusters as defined by the U.S. Department of Education; CTD introduces the student to the 16 career clusters defined by the US DOE and presents the student with the big picture – that high school and post-secondary education and training are required to pursue most careers. Unit 2
  • (C) summarize the career opportunities in a cluster of personal interest;  The student applies the interest assessment to identify careers within the career clusters. Unit 2 – 3,4
  • (D) research current and emerging fields related to personal interest areas; Once potential careers are identified, the student researches the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) where the career clusters, training, income potential and interest assessment are referenced for specific careers. – Unit 2 – 5
  • (E) determine academic requirements in career fields related to personal interest areas; CTD then leads the student to identifying the academic requirements, college majors and training required to meet the current standards of knowledge for the desired careers. Unit 3 – 1
  • (F) explore how career choices impact the balance between personal and professional responsibilities; and… CTD requires the student to discuss the characteristics of a career versus a job.  The student then steps into the future and writes an essay about who he is in ten years, incorporating standard of living, housing, marital status, and how he achieved these goals. Unit 6
  • (G) research educational options and requirements using appropriate technology.

This objective is fulfilled in the college planning section of CTD. Unit 2 & 3

(2) The student analyzes personal interests and aptitudes regarding education and career planning. The student is expected to:

  • (A) create a personal career portfolio;
  • (B) make oral presentations that fulfill specific purposes using appropriate technology;
  • (C) develop and analyze tables, charts, and graphs related to career interests;
  • (D) determine the impact of technology on careers of personal interest; and
  • (E) identify entrepreneurial opportunities within a field of personal interest.

In CTD, students work in teams and make oral presentations every week.  They have the opportunity to meet with professionals, working in careers from the students’ interest assessment areas and discuss the education and paths taken by the professional to achieve the career goals. Unit 6

(3) The student analyzes college and career opportunities. The student is expected to:

  • (A) determine academic requirements for transition from one learning level to the next; In CTD, the student identifies and models the high school academic path that must be taken to enter the colleges of choice.  Unit 5 and 7
  • (B) explore opportunities for earning college credit in high school such as advanced placement courses, International Baccalaureate courses, dual credit, and local and statewide articulated credit; In CTD, the student explores the AP credits that their colleges of choice will accept.  They identify the academic value of Pre-AP, AP, dual credit and IB classes and the economic value for reducing the cost of attending college. Unit 4 and 7
  • (C) develop an awareness of financial aid, scholarships, and other sources of income to support postsecondary education; The student learns about FAFSA, Pell grants and building a compelling high school resume to qualify for scholarships.
  • (D) discuss the impact of effective college and career planning. The students presents a Life Map to the class which tells the story of where they have been, where they are and where they intend to be in 10 years.
  • (E) demonstrate decision-making skills related to school and community issues, programs of study, and career planning; and  See above
  • (F) identify how performance on assessments such as the SAT®, ACT®, ASVAB®, and ACCUPLACER® impact personal academic and career goals. In CTD the students researchers and decides on a plan for enhancing his SAT scores with full knowledge of the benefits of being a National Merit Scholar.

(4) The student evaluates skills for personal success. The student is expected to:

  • (A) implement effective study skills for academic success;
  • (B) use interpersonal skills to facilitate effective teamwork;
  • (C) use a problem-solving model and critical-thinking skills to make informed decisions;
  • (D) use effective time-management and goal-setting strategies;
  • (E) effectively use information and communication technology tools; and
  • (F) identify skills that can be transferable among a variety of careers.

Team building, problem solving, and critical thinking skills are embedded in each CTD lesson.  To enhance the skills, students may also attend optional Leadership Development Institutes, designed to complement skills.

(5) The student recognizes the impact of career choice on personal lifestyle. The student is expected to:

  • (A) prepare a personal budget reflecting the student’s desired lifestyle; In CTD, the student prepares tax returns and cash blow statements based on how the student will fund college, using Pell grants and Statfford loans and earned income as an intern.
  • (B) use appropriate resources to compare and contrast salaries and educational requirements of at least three careers in the student’s interest area; and
  • (C) evaluate at least three career interests based on budget and salary expectations.

Once the student identifies education and career objectives, he then determines the standard of living he will have to rent an apartment, buy food, clothing, purchase a car, buy insurance, medical insurance, pay taxes, FICA, and save..  Student learns how to prepare income taxes and prepare a budget. He learns what one earns is based upon what one learns.

(6) The student demonstrates an understanding of personal financial management. The is expected to:

  • (A) compare the advantages and disadvantages of different types of banking services;
  • (B) simulate opening and maintaining different types of bank accounts;
  • (C) simulate different methods of withdrawals and deposits; and
  • (D) reconcile bank statements, including fees and services.

Student learns about banking, insurance, compound interest, debit and credit cards, managing credit score, request credit report and reconciliation of bank statements.

(7) The student develops skills for professional success. The student is expected to:

  • (A) demonstrate effective verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic communication skills;
  • (B) evaluate the impact of positive and negative personal choices, including use of  electronic communications such as social networking sites;
  • (C) model characteristics of effective leadership, teamwork, and conflict management;
  • (D) recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including the ability to manage stress;
  • (E) explore and model characteristics necessary for professional success such as work ethics, integrity, dedication, perseverance, and the ability to interact with a diverse population; and
  • (F) complete activities using project- and time-management techniques.

CTD student starts each day with a team building assignment focused on life skills.  The members of the team discuss topics; take notes, report on a white board and then report to the class.  Topics include the above and focus on the school as a community with socio-economic challenges such as bullying, attendance, ethics, drugs, drinking, and teen pregnancy.

(8) The student identifies and explores technical skills essential to careers in multiple occupations, including those that are high skill, high wage, or high demand. The student is expected to:

  • (A) complete actual or virtual labs to simulate the technical skills required in various occupations; and
  • (B) analyze the relationship between various occupations such as the relationship between interior design, architectural design, manufacturing, and construction on the industry of home building or the multiple occupations required for hospital administration. In the experiential game, students work with other business units to serve their customers.  For example the bank employees provide pre-approval on home mortgages while the mortgage company handles the actual purchase of the home and amortization of the loan.

§127.4. Career Portals.
General requirements. This course is recommended for students in Grades 7-8.

(a) Introduction. The goal of this course is to create a culture of high expectation and continuous improvement that provides middle school students with a foundation for success in high school, future studies, and careers. Students explore college and career planning within specific career cluster(s). The students research labor market information, learn job-seeking skills, and create documents required for employment. Students use self-knowledge to explore and set realistic goals. Districts have the flexibility of offering career exploration knowledge and skills in a variety of instructional arrangements.

(b) Knowledge and skills.

(1) The student explores one or more career clusters of interest. The student is expected to:

  • (A) identify the various career opportunities within one or more career clusters; and
  • (B) identify the pathways within one or more career clusters.

(2) The student explores pathways of interest within one or more career clusters. The student is expected to:

  • (A) investigate career opportunities within the pathways;
  • (B) explore careers of personal interest;
  • (C) research the academic requirements for careers of personal interest;
  • (D) research the certification or educational requirements for careers of personal interest; and
  • (E) describe the technical-skill requirements for careers of personal interest

(3) The student explores programs of study. The student is expected to:

  • (A) compare levels of education for careers of personal interest;
  • (B) identify the academic and technical skills needed; and
  • (C) develop a personal program of study for at least one career.

(4) The student explores the professional skills needed for college and career success. The student is expected to:

  • (A) articulate the importance of strong academic skills to meet personal academic and career goals;
  • (B) explore the importance of curricular, extracurricular, career preparation, and extended learning experiences;
  • (C) develop a personal six- or eight-year achievement plan that incorporates rigorous academic and relevant enrichment courses;
  • (D) explore the steps required to participate in a variety of career and educational opportunities, including, but not limited to, entry-level employment, military service, apprenticeships, community and technical colleges, and universities;
  • (E) identify professional associations affiliated with a specified program of study;
  • (F) employ effective leadership, teamwork, and conflict management;
  • (G) recognize the value of community service and volunteerism; and
  • (H) demonstrate characteristics required for personal and professional success, including work ethics, integrity, dedication, perseverance, and the ability to interact with a diverse population.

(5) The student understands personal financial management and recognizes the value of personal fiscal responsibility. The student is expected to:

  • (A) compare and contrast different types of banking services;
  • (B) open and maintain different types of simulated bank accounts;
  • (C) practice different methods of withdrawing and depositing funds;
  • (D) reconcile bank statements, including fees and services;
  • (E) compare and contrast forms of credit, including credit cards and debit cards;
  • (F) list the qualifications and procedures to obtain and improve credit scores;
  • (G) discuss the impact of identity theft on credit; and
  • (H) examine the effects of poor credit scores as they relate to personal finance and career opportunities.

(6) The student explores labor market information. The student is expected to:

  • (A) analyze national, state, regional, and local labor market information;
  • (B) cite evidence of high-skill, high-wage, or high-demand occupations based on analysis of labor market information; and
  • (C) analyze the effects of changing employment trends, societal needs, and economic conditions on career planning.

(7) The student explores job-seeking skills. The student is expected to:

  • (A) identify the steps for an effective job search;
  • (B) describe appropriate appearance for an interview; and
  • (C) participate in a mock interview.

(8) The student creates professional documents required for employment. The student is expected to:

  • (A) develop a resumé;
  • (B) write appropriate business correspondence such as a letter of intent and a thank you letter;
  • (C) complete sample job applications; and
  • (D) explain protocol for use of references.
    In CTD, student develops a resume, learns how to conduct an interview, write a cover letter, thank you note and practices job-seeking elevator pitches.  An optional reality simulation game is available where the student speed interviews, receives a feed-back “report card” by professional volunteers.