Presence of State-Level, Statewide Commitment
- Does the state have a comprehensive and specific action plan
or agenda for implementing a college- and career-readiness
initiative? How was the plan developed? Who was involved? What is
- Which statewide governmental entity directs the agenda and
its implementation? Are all of the needed officials and interests
- Do state leaders and educators understand the initiative to
be statewide, involving all public high schools and all public
- Is the agenda formalized and supported by state-level policy
in the form of legislation, legislative oversight, governor’s
direction, State Board of Education (K-12), state education
agency, or statewide higher education policy?
- What is understood to be the size and nature of the readiness
problem statewide? How has the size or magnitude of students’
lack of readiness been determined? Do statewide academic
standards and measurement process establish and address students’
readiness performance levels expected by the state?
Scope of the Postsecondary Readiness Initiative
- Is it envisioned that the same kind and level of readiness
standards will be applied to all forms of postsecondary
education? These forms include:
- Baccalaureate degree study
- Associate’s degree Study (transfer and career-related)
- Career certificate programs
- Diploma career programs
- On-the-job training
- Military training
- Or, will different kinds or levels of readiness be applied
depending on the form of postsecondary education?
- What is the empirical basis for these decisions about
readiness for different forms of postsecondary education? How has
performance on the readiness standards been related to the skills
and knowledge needed to begin a specific kind of study after high
- On which areas of skill or knowledge will the readiness
standards be based?
- Have such statewide readiness standards been developed or
identified? If so, where can they be found and do they meet the
following characteristics of effective readiness standards?
- Are they learning-skill based and focused (reading,
writing and math)?
- Are they specific components of the state’s
formally-adopted public school academic content standards
that all teachers are expected to emphasize?
- How were or are the readiness standards made full and
identifiable parts of the statewide public school standards?
- By using the existing state school standards as a
base and identifying those that indicate readiness?
- By a combination of identification of existing
standards and the incorporation of additional readiness
standards into the official statewide school standards?
- By identifying the readiness standards independently
from the existing school standards and formally
incorporating them into the school standards?
- How have the identified standards been described both in
terms of content and performance to enable all teachers to
understand the specific nature and performance expectations of
the readiness standards? How have the general content
descriptions of the standards been further specified in
performance expectations? How will the state ensure that
those involved in classroom teaching, school assessments,
professional development, curriculum development, new teacher
preparation, postsecondary readiness testing, and school
accountability apply the same standards?
- How will the state ensure that the readiness standards meet
appropriate levels of rigor and effectiveness?
- Through direct validation of the readiness standards’
effect on postsecondary success?
- Through benchmarking of the standards through national
- Given the current gap between the threshold performance now
required for high school graduation and an appropriately
effective expectation for postsecondary readiness, how will the
state address the public’s perception of the readiness challenge?
Will the state be able to establish an appropriately high (and
needed) readiness standard when the gap between high school
graduation and postsecondary readiness may increase in the
- Has public postsecondary education statewide endorsed the
readiness standards? If so, how?
- How was postsecondary education involved in identifying
the readiness standards?
- If not universally involved, which segments and
institutions were active?
Readiness Assessments in High School and College
- How will all students be assessed on the specific statewide
readiness standards while in high school?
- How can these assessments be timed so that students have
taken enough of the courses relevant to the specific readiness
standards to have an opportunity to do well, but still have
enough time remaining in high school for schools to address any
shortcomings that students may have in meeting the standards?
- Which kinds of high school tests will be used?
- Comprehensive tests
- End-of-course tests
- National tests
- How can existing statewide school tests be revised to measure
the readiness standards and expectations?
- How will the school assessments address the readiness
standards associated with English III and Algebra II?
- Can comprehensive high-stakes graduation tests also be used
to measure postsecondary readiness?
- How can the state ensure that the readiness tests
specifically address the state readiness standards and
- Additions to existing comprehensive or end-of-course
- Identification of subsets of standards and items on
- Conversion of national tests to reflect the state
readiness standards specifically?
- How does postsecondary education currently assess the
readiness of entering students? Do all institutions use one set
of readiness standards and related assessments?
- How will postsecondary education conform its
placement/readiness standards and assessments to the new
statewide readiness standards and school-based assessments?
State High School Accountability System
- How can the college-readiness standards be given proper focus
and priority by all high schools, teachers and students?
- How can states encourage high schools to prepare increasingly
higher percentages of students for postsecondary education, and
then recognize schools that meet their goals?
- How can the high school accountability system make college
readiness a priority?
- Will there be incentives attached to the college- and
career-ready tests for students? How can the state make the test
“count” in some way for students to ensure they take the test
- Which stakes or consequences should be applied to schools
that meet their college-readiness goals or improve their rates of
students showing readiness for college study?
Strengthening College and Career Readiness by Adjusting
Curriculum and Instruction
- How will the college-readiness standards be infused with
appropriate performance expectations at each grade in key areas
- How can all teachers in the state develop a shared sense of
performance expectations in each content area? What kinds of
statewide professional development programs will build this
consensus on the needed levels of student performance in each
academic content area?
- How will teacher preparation programs be adjusted to ensure
that all new teachers know the statewide readiness standards and
how to use them in teaching?
- How will the senior-year curriculum and instruction be
revised to help students previously assessed as unready for
college in reading, writing or math develop the skills they need
to meet the college-readiness standards?