Common Core Goes to College: Building Better Connections Between High School and Higher Education

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Author(s): The New America Foundation

  • Lindsey Tepe

Published: July 21, 2014

Report Intro/Brief:
"The implementation of the Common Core State Standards in classrooms throughout the country, while at times rocky, is well underway. The standards will be accompanied by sophisticated new assessments that are designed to gauge students’ progress, culminating in an eleventh grade final assessment of college readiness, scheduled to be used for the first time in the 2014–15 school year. In theory, university systems and college governing boards of participating states were required to endorse the new standards and recognize their accompanying assessments as accurate indicators of college readiness.

But careful analysis of state policies and practices reveals a higher education landscape riddled with complications and shortcomings for the successful alignment of higher education with the Common Core. An examination of the higher education policies that guide students through the transition from high school to college—including admissions, financial aid, retesting and course placement, and developmental education—reveals many detours and inconsistencies that remain unaddressed. Further, there is little evidence to suggest colleges are meaningfully aligning college instruction and teacher preparation programs with the Common Core standards. This has been further complicated by many states’ shifting K–12 policies, as well as the fast-approaching date for launching these new assessments."