October 2015


Community Colleges Announce Effort to Close Preparation Gap
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) joined with Higher Ed for Higher Standards to announce a new partnership to increase college readiness. The initiative will encourage community colleges to embrace the new college- and career-ready standards and assessments most states have adopted and work with their local high schools to use the data from those assessments to provide supports, interventions, and accelerated pathways into college for students. 

In a joint statement released at the ACCT Leadership Congress meeting in San Diego, ACCT President Noah Brown and AACC President Walter Bumphus urged community college leaders across the country to get more engaged in efforts to raise K-12 standards because of their potential to improve college readiness and success. Inside Higher Ed and Politico's Morning Education covered the announcement. 

Here's an excerpt from the ACCT/AACC statement: 

"We applaud states that have made great strides over the past several years in implementing more challenging K-12 standards designed to prepare students for success in college and careers. This work holds tremendous potential for increasing the number of students who arrive in our colleges and businesses prepared for success... Providing remediation to 50 percent or more of entering students is a tremendous strain on resources... ACCT, AACC, and Higher Ed for Higher Standards are collaborating to promote and support strong partnerships between community colleges and high schools to help them leverage the more ambitious K-12 standards and assessments to increase students' college readiness... The community college sector has been talking about the remediation challenge for a long time. Now, we are taking meaningful and actionable steps to do something about it."


California Higher Ed and K-12 United in Support for Higher Standards 
Last month, California became the largest state to release the results of new assessments aligned to college-ready standards. Higher education is taking note: all 101 campuses of The California State University and California community colleges will use these scores to determine student placement into credit-bearing coursework. These 400,000 11th graders in California will now have the opportunity to close the readiness gap in their senior year, saving students and their families thousands of dollars in remedial courses that cost the United States $3 billion annually. Read more about the importance of aligned assessments from U.S. News & World Report or about California's Early Assessment Program from EdSource.

The California State Board of Education has commended both higher ed's continued support for K-12 standards as well as its "comprehensive, coordinated approach for implementation." All four California organizations of higher education have unified in their endorsement of higher standards, including University of California, California Community Colleges, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and The California State University. Be sure to check out their resources to make sure that students, families, and the public know the facts

Utah Higher Ed Leaders Join Coalition 
Led by Commissioner David L. Buhler, all eight public college and university presidents in Utah announced their commitment to higher standards through a public statement timed with the state test score release and an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune

Michigan Higher Ed and Business: "Stay the Course" 
John Engler, former Michigan governor and current president of the Business Roundtable, joined with Daniel Hurley, CEO of the Presidents' Council, State Universities of Michigan to publish a joint op-ed in support of Michigan's more rigorous K-12 standards and assessments in the wake of the recent release of state test scores. Citing not only the state's future economic prosperity, but also the increased opportunities for students who graduate high school college- and career-ready, Hurley and Engler underscore the importance of remaining resolute in "ensuring that our K-12 students are fully equipped for success in college and career."


Massachusetts Higher Ed Leaders Speak Out on Assessments

At an event hosted by the Boston Foundation this month, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland and former Commissioner of K-12 Education Robert Antonucci spoke out about  high remediation rates, even as more students continue to pass old exams. The forum, which also featured the retired CEO of Raytheon as well as K-12 education leaders, was timely because the state board of education will soon decide whether to adopt the more ambitious PARCC assessments or keep using the MCAS exams that were developed nearly 20 years ago. 

Freeland urged the state to press forward with the new assessments, highlighting their potential in improving student preparation for college. He described how Massachusetts college faculty helped shape the exams and validated that they measure college readiness. Antonucci, who retired as Fitchburg State University president this year, remarked that, just as we now use smartphones over flip phones, once cutting-edge technology in their time, it is time for Massachusetts to upgrade its assessments to be aligned to college- and career-ready standards in response to our higher expectations for students. Watch a recording of the event or check out coverage from the Lowell Sun and the Bay State Banner.

Vermont Higher Ed Official Tests New Assessments

Scott Giles, president and CEO of the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. and chairman of the Vermont PreK-16 Council, decided to test the new assessments aligned to Vermont's higher standards himself. His results? Renewed support for the important changes his state is making to ensure that our children have the knowledge and skills to be active citizens and compete in the 21st century global economy. Read more about his first experience with the new, adaptive assessments here.


About Higher Ed for Higher Standards


Higher Ed for Higher Standards is a coalition of higher education leaders that strives to ensure that Americans realize the importance of higher K-12 standards for higher education and student success after high school. Join us!


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