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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots

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Published by Achieve, Inc.
The development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and common assessments provides an unprecedented opportunity to connect the dots between K–12 expectations and first-year, freshman college courses. This monograph provides an overview of postsecondary's role in preparing K-12 students. (April 26, 2012)
The development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and common assessments provides an unprecedented opportunity to connect the dots between K–12 expectations and first-year, freshman college courses. This monograph provides an overview of postsecondary's role in preparing K-12 students. (April 26, 2012)

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Achieve, Inc. on Apr 26, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Postsecondary’sRole in PreparingK–12 Students
A new era of educational equity and opportunity is dawning in America. The preparationneeded for students to be ready for college and careers today requires an exceptionallevel of partnership between K–12 and higher education.
An Unprecedentedpportunity
For the rst time in our nation’s history, 46 states and theDistrict of Columbia have agreed that all K–12 students willbe educated along a common continuum of high academicexpectations known as the
Common Core StateStandards
(CCSS).Having clear, consistent standards in Englishlanguage arts/literacy and mathematics willhelp ensure that all students, regardlessof zip code, graduate fully prepared tosucceed in college, careers and life.In addition, 45 states and the Districtof Columbia also have committed toadministering common assessments basedon these standards, including 24 statesparticipating in the
Partnership for Assessmentof Readiness for College and Careers
PARCC willassess students to indicate whether they are on track asthey progress through the grades and will signal the needfor additional support.The adoption of the CCSS and the development ofthe common assessments provide an unprecedentedopportunity for the postsecondary community to work withK–12 to demonstrate what being college ready means andto connect the dots between K–12 expectations and rst-year, freshman college courses.Thus, the PARCC Higher Education Leadership Team, whichconsists of the primary postsecondary contacts for allPARCC states, created this document, and other forthcomingbriefs, as a call to action for other postsecondary faculty,leadership and policymakers in our states.Working together, K–12 and postsecondary can help ensurethat students make successful transitions from highschool to college and reduce the need for remediationat the postsecondary level — ultimately bolstering highereducation completion rates for certicates and degreesand ensuring a better prepared workforce for our nation tocompete in the global economy.
Leveraging the pportunity for Change
Leveraging this opportunity to achieve a new level ofeducational equity and achievement requires postsecondaryeducators to engage meaningfully with our peers in ourstates’ K–12 systems to better understand how to createstrong, sustainable change around the CCSS and commonassessments. We can start by asking a few key questions:
How do we collaborate with K–12 leaders to design thecommon assessments
that measure the CCSS and serveas a valid and reliable indicator of a student’s ability tosucceed in our rst-year, credit-bearing courses?
How do we prepare teachers
who are well versed inthe CCSS and in how to use the PARCC assessments toimprove student achievement in our K–12 schools?
How do we engage high school teachers
in the reviewand creation of syllabi to ensure that our rst-year,credit-bearing courses build upon the rigor of the CCSS?In the coming years,
how do we serve stdents
whohave been educated with the CCSS and measured bythe common assessments to ensure that our coursesreect and build upon the type of learning they areexperiencing in K–12?Some states have already started the process of activelyinvolving faculty and administrators from their technical,two-year and four-year colleges and universities to begintackling these difcult, but necessary, questions.
The development o the CCSS and commonassessments provides anunprecedented opportunityto connect the dotsbetween K–12 expectationsand frst-year, reshmancollege courses.
Across states, postsecondary leaders, faculty and others areidentifying key strategies to connect the dots and supportK–12 and higher education working together to ensure thatstudents who master the CCSS and succeed on commonassessments such as PARCC are prepared for success incollege.
stablishing Mechanisms for K–12 andPostsecondary o Work ogether ontandards and Assessments
A leader in establishing a framework for engaging thestate higher education community, Massachusetts haslinked PARCC to its own
Vision Project
, the central strategicinitiative of the Massachusetts Department of HigherEducation. Higher education leaders have developed aPARCC decisionmaking structure incorporating 29 campus-based PARCC engagement teams and six regional facilitativegroups as well as a key resource group consisting of PARCClead content faculty teams.
Louisiana has established PARCC CampusLeadership Teams that will come togetherfor statewide discussions on corecompetencies for college readinessthat will be assessed by PARCC. Inaddition, all two- and four-yearinstitutions will have at least onefaculty member involved in PARCCresearch activities to help ensurethat the tests will serve as a validindicator of college readiness.
State ngagementStrategies
 MxC
A state team, including higher education representatives,worked together to develop the
New Mexico Common CoreState Standards Implementation Plan,
a four-year phase-inplan that addresses key components of an implementationtimeline. Higher education also plays a prominent role inthe state’s planned professional development activities.
 Aligning eacher Preparation andProfessional Development
Implementation of the CCSS and common assessmentswill require signicant professional development forK–12 educators to help them align instruction to the newexpectations and develop strategies to support students.Several states have developed strong frameworks forsupporting teacher pre-service and in-service needs. Theseleading states have recognized that teacher preparationis not just limited to colleges of education but must alsoinclude alignment between teacher preparation programsand professional development for in-service teachers.
State policymakers, recognizing the critical role of highereducation in teacher preparation and in-service, passedSenate Bill 1 in 2009 mandating that higher educationinstitutions create professional development plans thatfocus now on integrating the CCSS. To date, more than 2,000faculty have participated in online modules, face-to-faceworkshops and webinars created to outline the impact ofthe CCSS on general education, developmental educationand college of education faculty; postsecondary courseworkand curriculum; and classroom learning. More informationon Kentucky’s higher education institutions’ plans maybe found online, including a link to modules designed forfaculty who teach freshman or introductory courses and
Working together,K–12 andpostsecondary can helpensure that studentsmake successultransitions rom highschool to college.

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