With the national spotlight on community colleges, we have a unique opportunity to seize the moment and collaborate with K–12 to increase student success. Efforts to increase community college access and open doors to more students must include a complementary focus on improving readiness. Otherwise, remediation rates will remain unacceptably high, and our efforts to increase access may amount to an empty promise for many young people.
The programs highlighted in the report show what is possible when community colleges take action and collaborate deeply with K–12 schools to align expectations and promote college readiness for all students. The time to close the preparation gap is now.
- Partner with K–12 leadership to bring more substantial college readiness supports and interventions into the high schools.
- Identify college readiness measures that can trigger supports in high school, signaling aligned expectations between K–12 and colleges.
- Revise institutional placement practices to honor college-ready achievement by students on these new measures.
- Provide first-year students who are not yet college ready with evidence-based remediation opportunities, including co-requisite models and guided pathways to support their success.
- Work with system leaders and policymakers to adopt statewide policies that encourage these practices.
Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards
The Leveraging ESSA series provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of standards and/or assessments.
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.
The Proficient Means Prepared campaign offers more communication tools and templates, designed for a new assessment score release.