June 2016


Higher Ed for Higher Standards has formed an   Advisory Council  made up of prominent higher education leaders, including system heads, SHEEOs and presidents from both two and four year institutions, who are recognized as transformational leaders among their peers and demonstrate a strong commitment to partnering with K-12 systems to lift academic standards, expand college access and support student success.
The Council will guide the direction of the coalition's work to ensure it has a meaningful impact on state policy and institutional practice. At its recent meeting, Council members acknowledged that this will be a critical year for the work as most states will be reviewing their approaches to college-readiness programs and policies in light of new federal guidelines.  
James Applegate
Executive Director, Illinois Department of Higher Education
Noah Brown 
President and CEO, Association of Community College Trustees
Robert Caret 
Chancellor, University of Maryland
Charlene Dukes
President, Prince George's Community College; Chair, American Association of Community Colleges
Robert Donley
 Executive Director and CEO, Board of Regents of Iowa; incoming chair of SHEEO
Martha Kanter
Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education, New York University
Rebecca Martin
 Executive Director, National Association of System Heads
Keith Motley
Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston
Brian Noland 
President, East Tennessee State University
Eloy Oakley
Superintendent-President, Long Beach City College
George Pernsteiner
President, State Higher Education Executive Officers' Association
Nancy Zimpher
Chancellor, State University of New York; Chair, National Association of System Heads (NASH)

Update on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Currently, our K-12 colleagues are working hard to put together plans in response to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed in December 2015 to replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB). ESSA provides every state an opportunity to revamp its systems of academic standards, assessments, and student supports. Importantly, the law signals a clear role for higher education in ensuring K-12 standards and assessments reflect the expectations of our two and four year institutions. System leaders, SHEEOs and college presidents should reach out to their state K-12 education agency partners and offer to participate in the state plan development. Planning has begun now and will be completed by Spring 2017.
In the period ahead, Higher Ed for Higher Standards will be releasing more information and resources specifically designed to help higher education leaders to better understand key opportunities in ESSA and get involved in their states. If you have any questions about this emerging work, please don't hesitate to  contact us .

Alignment Policy Brief

In May, Higher Ed for Higher Standards released a new  alignment policy briefdesigned to elevate best practices and inform higher ed leaders of emerging collaborations with K-12.  This first issue focused on how leveraging rigorous assessments can support your student success agenda. 

Coalition GrowthIn the last two months, Higher Ed for Higher Standards has grown from 350 to 400 coalition members across 46 states. Help us get to 500 -- interested leaders can join here.
Getting Serious about College & Career Readiness
NASH, SHEEO and Higher Ed for Higher Standards' commitment to further aligning expectations with K-12 was spotlighted in a recent Education Week commentary by Matt Gandal on what states must do to get serious about college and career readiness, including breaking down silos in order to smooth student transitions, resisting pressures to lower standards, closing gaps and delivering supports to enable students to leverage the senior year of high school , and addressing the career-side of "college and career readiness." 

Beginning in fall 2016, all public postsecondary institutions in Kentucky will now give students the option to use several different assessments as college readiness indicators, including PARCC, Smarter Balanced, ACT, and SAT. Upon admission, students scoring at or above the scores indicated "will not be required to complete developmental, co-requisite, supplemental, or transitional coursework and will be allowed entry into college credit-bearing coursework that counts toward degree credit requirements," according to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. By utilizing an 11th grade assessment, Kentucky's placement policy saves students time by allowing them demonstrate college readiness before arriving on campus -- without an additional placement test.  Early warnings from rigorous, 11th grade assessments can help close preparation gaps before postsecondary enrollment though K-12 bridge courses, reducing time and money spent on non-credit-bearing coursework --  see our Alignment Policy Brief  for more information.

Newly released  data from Tennessee shows a four-year drop in the percentage of first-time freshmen who arrived at college in need of remedial classes, from 77% in 2011, to 63% in 2015. Remedial math rates were lower too: 77% in 2011 down to 55% in 2015. An  article from the Tennessean connects the drop in the need for remediation to the success of the SAILS program, a statewide program that offers self-paced remedial coursework in high school, through collaboration with the local community colleges. See our Seizing the Moment report for more information on how precollege interventions like SAILS can support student success.


Hidden Benefit of Higher Standards?
U.S. News & World Report cites a hidden benefit to higher standards: economic growth. The American Action Forum estimates that if NAEP scores were 10 points higher in 2003, that would translate to 14.6 million more adults with a high school degree, 10.3 million more with a bachelor's degree and 12.4 million additional jobs in 2013, which would represent $94.7 billion in additional state tax revenue nationwide and $1.27 trillion in additional economic growth. Higher standards are directly tied to educational attainment as well as America's economic competitiveness, and lowering standards will exacerbate the trend toward under-prepared college students, increased time to completion and inflated tuition costs for families.

Meandering Toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates
This new report from Education Trust shows that too many students leave high school with a diploma in hand but no clear path forward, with 47 percent, or almost half, of American high school graduates completing neither a college- nor career-ready course of study. The report calls on high school leaders to reflect on their school's structure, culture, and instruction, and how those elements influence exposure to rigorous, engaging, and relevant coursework that prepares students for success after high school in various college and career paths. Higher education leaders can also help address this problem by partnering with K-12 and establishing clear pathways for students as they transition from high school to higher education. NASH and SHEEO's Roadmap to College Readiness report highlights how states and systems are developing pre-college pathways to ensure college-readiness before high school graduation.


About Higher Ed for Higher Standards


Higher Ed for Higher Standards is a growing coalition of higher education leaders who believe college- and career-ready standards are critical to improving student success. Join us!


Click here to join this mailing list.