November 2016



Higher Ed for Higher Standards is excited to announce the release of  Strategies to Support Student K-12 to Postsecondary Transitions , the latest in our  Leveraging ESSA  series, produced 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). The new report takes a closer look at acceleration and catch up strategies that are being deployed in high schools to help increase college readiness rates and reduce the need for remediation. It provides specific suggestions for how states can expand access to these programs through their ESSA plans. These plans are due to be completed early in 2017 and Higher Ed for Higher Standards is encouraging higher ed leaders to get involved to help shape them. 

The report is released to coincide with a presentation by NASH Board Chair, Dr. Nancy Zimpher, and SHEEO Board Chair, Dr. Robert Donley, at a plenary session at CCSSO's Annual Policy Forum today, attended by K-12 state schools chiefs and executives from all 50 states. The session focuses on how collaboration across the sectors can be strengthened to improve student transitions, featuring K-12 and higher education leaders from NY & IA. 

In the upcoming months, we will continue to release additional resources on how higher education can get involved in state ESSA plans. For more information or feedback, please contact us at .

Minnesota colleges and universities schools are getting their students into credit-bearing college courses sooner, saving millions of dollars in tuition and fees, and boosting their chances of earning a degree. Last year, 12 percent of the system's new students were enrolled in remedial courses, but four years earlier, that figure was 18 percent, a decrease that saves students $15.6 million on tuition and fees this year alone. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, Ron Anderson, credits the decrease in remedial course placement to working closely with districts to align curriculum and assessments, using multiple measures to accurately place students, and providing for accelerated options to speed student completion. Read more from Twin Cities Pioneer Press, and for more on collaborating with K-12 to improve student success, see our report Seizing the Moment

Edweek recently featured Washington, Hawaii and Tennessee's work to offer remedial coursework in high school. Important keys to success across state examples include K-12 and higher education faculty collaboration throughout the process, and a focus on rigor centered on setting a true bar for college readiness. This seeming simple approach to college remediation - taking care of readiness problems while students are still in high school is gaining ground, and early findings show success in catapulting students into credit bearing coursework. See more on reducing remediation through transition courses and assessments aligned to college ready benchmarks from our alignment policy brief


The State of American Jobs
New research from Pew outlines how the shifting economic landscape is reshaping work, society and the way people think about the education, skills and training they need to get ahead. Postsecondary success is critical to workforce success; 65 percent of all new jobs in the United States will require at least some postsecondary education and training by 2020, pointing to the continued importance of higher education to the economic well-being of individuals, families, communities and the nation. But who is responsible for making sure the American workforce has the education and skills they need to succeed? Six-in-ten believe public K-12 schools should have a lot of responsibility, while 28% believe they should bear some responsibility. Among all adults, 52% say colleges should have a lot of responsibility in making sure that the American workforce has the right skills and education to be successful. This shared responsibility is resoundingly clear: K-12 can no longer set long-term system goals in isolation from higher education. Shared goals  creates a north star around which policies and programs across K-12 and postsecondary can be developed and expanded to prepare all students for long-term workforce success. Stay tuned: Higher Ed for Higher Standards will be releasing additional resources related to state postsecondary credentialing goals in fall 2016 as part of  Leveraging ESSA.

Primer on The College Student Journey
Within a rapidly changing landscape, undergraduate education continues to be one of the most important avenues of opportunity in American society. To address these topics and provide ideas for ensuring that individual Americans receive the education they need to thrive in the twenty-first century, the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education identified the top ten takeaways about undergraduates, signaling challenges and opportunities for higher education at large. The number 1 and 2 greatest concerns were the troublingly unequal rates of college attainment and remediation.  In response to these issues, the report identifies the importance of interventions to improve high school students' college readiness as well as redesigned approaches to remedial course placement, alignment and delivery models. A key element to improving college attainment rates and decreasing remediation  is making the most of all four years students spend in high school - particularly senior year. For more information on precollege interventions, see our report 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!

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