Common Core Goes to College: Building Better Connections between High School and Higher Education
In this report published by New America, Tepe describes the current landscape of higher education policies and practices that prevent clear alignment between colleges and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Tepe analyzed state and institution policies within higher education and examined the history and use of various assessments (e.g., high school assessments and exit exams, college admissions exams, and course placement tests) in higher education. The examination of the current landscape reveals many paths students have to navigate from high school to college. Tepe sees that the widespread adoption of the CCSS and assessments presents a new opportunity to bridge the gap between high school and higher education, arguing that states’ new college- and career-ready assessments should provide an additional avenue to higher education institutions.
This resource is one of the few publications to date that addresses the lack of alignment between K-12 assessments to measure college readiness and a vast, disparate array of college assessments purporting to serve the same purpose. The author has done an excellent job in researching this topic, identifying key problems, and recommending improvements. Excellent references and examples contribute to this resource’s high value. Readers already familiar with the Common Core and consortia assessments might be able to skip the introductory background section. Communications quality is very high; language is easy to read; and each section builds on previous sections. Some of the graphics may take a bit too much space, but they effectively illustrate the content. Utility should be very high, especially if policy makers and higher education administrators take heed, which they should. The current higher education assessment system as used for placement and admissions is disparate and ill-suited to its current purpose as the author effectively points out. While evidence of effectiveness is not address in this policy brief, the potential impact on learning and greater efficiency as well as potential for reductions in unnecessary testing, is high. This resource rates as a must-read for the higher education community.