August 2017


The map above shows the states that will be submitting ESSA plans in September 2017.

Higher Ed for Higher Standards released a  policy brief  highlighting the ways that the first seventeen states to submit ESSA plans in April 2017 took advantage of the recommendations from the Leveraging ESSA series to align K-12 and higher education to support long-term student success. This brief also contains suggested actions for states that will be submitting ESSA plans during round 2 in September.
The strongest plans made explicit connections between K-12 success and postsecondary readiness and attainment. If you are a state higher education executive or system leader, have you helped shape your state's ESSA plan? If so, let us know. The map above shows the states that will be submitting ESSA plans in September 2017; stay tuned for a new Higher Ed for Higher Standards report on round 2 plans.

Higher Ed for Higher Standards would also like thank the outgoing leadership of NASH & SHEEO for their strong support over the past few years:  Nancy Zimpher , retiring SUNY Chancellor and former chair of NASH;  Bob Donley , retiring  Executive Director of the Iowa Board of Regents and  former chair of SHEEO; and  George Pernsteiner , retiring President of SHEEO. All three helped shape the priorities of HEHS and we look forward to continuing the strong partnership with NASH and SHEEO moving forward. 


California State University (CSU) will be eliminating remedial education and placement testing starting in fall 2018, in an effort to "facilitate equitable opportunity for first-year students to succeed." Students who would otherwise be enrolled in remedial courses will now enroll in the credit-bearing introductory course, and have options to receive additional tutoring or take the course at a slower pace, stretching it over multiple semesters. CSU will also redesign the "Early Start" summer program for incoming freshmen who need extra preparation to count for credit and use high school grades and standardized test scores, instead of an additional placement test. Helping students graduate on-time is a system priority since Cal State has made a goal to double four-year graduation rates to 40 percent by 2025.  California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley also endorsed this change as "the right approach" in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. Earlier this summer, Texas also passed a law making co-requisite remediation the required model for students in developmental education courses. 


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.

The Kansas Board of Regents charged high school educators and two-year college math facultywith 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.



Nationwide Progress Toward Increasing Attainment Goals
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.
Good Jobs that Pay without a BA
A new report from Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce shows that the new good jobs that do not require a BA are increasingly going to
workers with some
college education and Associate's degrees, rather than workers with high school diplomas. Since 1991, the share of good jobs that require only a high school diploma has declined 9%, with the share requiring some college has increased 11% and the share requiring an Associate's degree has increased 83% -- pointing to the continued importance of postsecondary degrees, especially given new opportunities for students who have some college but did not finish a degree. The report also cites the need to match education and training with the demands of the new economy by connecting colleges, especially community colleges, and employers. Read the full report for more information on where these jobs are and who holds them, or watch the video for an overview.

Remediation at Community Colleges
As demonstrated above, 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

About Higher Ed for Higher Standards

Higher Ed for Higher Standards is a growing coalition of higher education leaders who believe aligned expectations and strong partnerships between K-12 and postsecondary leaders are critical to improving student success.  Join us!
Higher Ed for Higher Standards is an initiative of Education Strategy Group. For more information about our other work, please visit our  website .

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