Shining a Spotlight on K-12 and Higher Education Alignment

October 25, 2017  — NEW RELEASE: In partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), National Association of System Heads (NASH), and State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), Higher Ed for Higher Standards released, Shining a Spotlight on K-12 and Higher Education Alignment, the final brief in the Leveraging ESSA series based on a review of alignment strategies in state’s ESSA plans. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia included at least one of the recommended K-12/ higher education alignment strategies included in Leveraging ESSA ꟷ validating college-ready standards and aligned assessments, vertically aligning K-12 and higher education goals, holding schools accountable for college and career preparation, and supporting student transitions into postsecondary ꟷ with 10 states demonstrating significant alignment by including three or more of the recommended strategies. These states can and should serve as a model for others seeking to build and expand activities to support student transitions from high school into postsecondary. See more from our latest newsletter or download the brief.

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Aligned Assessments and Proactive Admissions in South Dakota

October 10, 2017  — In South Dakota, 11th grade students who score at Level 3 or 4 in English and math on Smarter Balanced assessments, or earn an ACT composite score of 18, are now guaranteed “general acceptance” to the state’s six public universities and four technical institutes – though students might have to meet additional requirements to pursue specific majors. Students who receive the letters of guaranteed general acceptance must submit an admission application, pay the fee, and send in their high school transcripts by Dec. 1 of their senior year. Their enrollment is contingent on graduating from high school, though the acceptance is automatic. Read more from Edweek.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.

TN Promise Students More Likely to Succeed & Less Likely to Drop Out

September 21, 2017  — Tennessee Promise’s students are showing signs of improvement from previous year56 percent of Tennessee Promise students who entered college in 2015 had graduated, transferred to a four-year university or remained in school two years later, compared to 39 percent of recent high school graduates outside of Tennessee Promise had done the same. Meanwhile, 61 percent of non-Promise students who went from high school to community college in 2015 dropped out within two years, compared to only 44 percent of Tennessee Promise students dropped out in the same time frame. Despite these success, enrollment gaps raise equity questions, since minority students were less likely than white students to participate in Tennessee Promise, with 71 percent of eligible white community college students –  yet only 46 percent of eligible black students and 56 percent of Hispanic students – enrolled in 2015. Tennessee also plans to take steps to target students who are still enrolled and push them to finish, looking at data regarding specific majors course loads and summer enrollment, among other factors. For more information on Tennessee’s effort to improve student success, check out our alignment brief on TN SAILS.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.

Remediation at Community Colleges

August 30, 2017  —  Associate’s degrees are increasingly important in connecting students to  to good jobs, but it’s also clear that entering community college unprepared means a much lower chance of actually earning the degree. In an effort to better to understand how community colleges can better support underprepared students, author Timothy Pratt interviews two SUNY Adirondack students in developmental courses to highlight the ways that these courses serve as an unintentional roadblock, and how collaboration with high schools could help to reduce remediation. The more remedial courses a student must take, the less likely they will complete them. Of community college students taking one remedial course, 74 percent complete the class, but for those taking four or more classes, just 25 percent finish all remedial coursework. For more information, read the full article from Education Next, or our report on K-12 and community college collaboration, Seizing the Moment.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.

Kansas Districts Offering College Transition Courses Co-Developed with Community College Faculty

July 17, 2017 —  The Kansas Board of Regents charged high school educators and two-year college math faculty with creating a course to enable more graduating high school seniors to enroll into college-level math courses when they start college. Last school year, more than 35 high schools piloted the Transition to College Algebra, and at least 15 other high schools will join this school year. Students who pass this course in high school can place directly into credit-bearing coursework upon matriculation. For more information on the role that 12th grade transition courses can play in improving postsecondary transitions and success, check out our alignment policy brief on TN SAILS. Removing barriers to postsecondary success by reducing remediation will be critical to meeting the Kansas Board of Regents’ target of graduating about 53,000 students annually systemwide – see our Leveraging ESSA brief for more examples of how states are working to reach credential attainment goals.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.

Nationwide Progress Toward Increasing Attainment Goals

June 17, 2017 —  Since 2008, the national attainment rate has risen by 7.9 percentage points. All states still have a long way to go to reach Lumina’s goal that 60 percent of Americans hold degrees, certificates or other high-quality postsecondary credentials by 2025. For more information on your state or metropolitan area’s progress, check out Lumina’s latest report. Higher Ed for Higher Standards also identifies clear strategies for developing aligned K-12 and higher education goals and outlines how states can use those goals to drive strategic actions to support all youth on their path to attain a postsecondary credential of value in our Leveraging ESSA Credential Attainment policy brief.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.

Minnesota State Colleges Offering Bridge Program and New Placement Option

May 20, 2017 — Starting this fall, Minnesota students can submit their 10th-grade reading and 11th-grade math scores to the state postsecondary system to demonstrate college readiness & place into credit-bearing coursework. Additionally, this summer, Minnesota State College and Universities are offering a  bridge program in math, reading, and writing to improve students’ readiness for college-level work prior to matriculation. The Summer Scholars Academy targeted students nearest to the proficiency benchmark, serving nearly 200 students. The state intends to scale the program in the future. Modeled after CUNY’s ASAP program that offers wraparound supports, students will also receive subsidized transportation and a $150 scholarship for fall tuition at a Minnesota State college or university after they successfully complete the program. Using high school assessment scores to indicate readiness and developing summer bridge courses are two of the three policies we highlight in Seizing the Moment.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.

Reforming Remediation to Support College Completion

March 21, 2017 — A new report College Completion: Focus on the Finish Line from the National Center for Developmental Education calls for closer collaboration between community colleges, public schools, and community services, improved teaching and learning and fully integrated courses and student support services as three main phases of college success. “Focus[ing] on the finish line, not just first hundred meters” means looking beyond just remediation to the full range of supports necessary to support student persistence, and ultimately, completion.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.

Destination Known: Valuing College and Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems

March 2, 2017 — A new report Destination Known: Valuing College and Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems, urges state K-12 systems to place a greater emphasis on student preparation for and success in postsecondary education when establishing performance goals for high schools. The report, authored by Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers , recommends aligning these goals with state postsecondary attainment goals.  The recommendations are timely because all states are in the process of setting new K-12 accountability benchmarks in response to the federal ESSA requirements. The report is a reminder of how important it is for higher education leaders to inform those decisions.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.

The State of American High School Graduates: What States Know (and don’t) about Student Performance

March 1, 2017 — State leaders need timely, actionable data in order to measure if supports to improve readiness are working. Achieve collected states’ publicly reported student performance against college- and career-ready indicators in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in this year’s report on The State of American High School Graduates: What States Know (and Don’t) About Student Performance. As more K-12 and postsecondary systems are working together on issues of college readiness, persistence and completion, better data – including postsecondary enrollment, remediation, and persistence – is necessary to support student success.


Sign up to receive the Higher Ed for Higher Standards monthly e-newsletter or view our previous newsletters here.

Additional Resources from Higher Ed for Higher Standards

The Leveraging ESSA series to provides several resources to support higher ed and K-12 collaboration in state ESSA plans.

Aligning Expectations
The Aligning Expectations toolkit helps higher education leaders get involved in states’ reviews of  standards and/or assessments.

Alignment Policy Brief
The Alignment Policy Brief Series is designed to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.

Seizing the Moment
The Seizing the Moment report on community college alignment shows how collaboration with K–12 can better support students.