4. Use as a measure for retesting and course placement.

In order to assess, sort and remediate under-prepared high school graduate students, anywhere from 28 to 40 percent of first-year undergraduates are enrolling in at least one developmental course; and at community colleges that percentage jumps to 50 percent.

“To have a substantive effect on course placement and to mitigate the need for retesting, the Common Core assessments need to contextualize their range of possible scores, both in terms of students’ mastery of specific content as well as their ability to succeed within the sequence of first-year coursework offered in colleges,” says Tepe.

To do this, states will need to decide upon more than a single cut-score for college readiness, and should also provide information on the types of first-year college-level coursework that students are prepared to take.

“For this information to be useful, public colleges and universities will need to adopt more consistent and reliable policies around placement decisions,” and “member states of the Common Core assessment consortia should work with test developers to provide additional information for college and university use in the course placement process.”

5. Align with teacher prep programs.

The final consideration for Common Core alignment is through teacher preparation programs, which as Tepe says, “With K-12 systems in 43 states and D.C. using these standards in their classrooms, the majority of teachers in this country will soon be required to teach based upon this framework.”

A recent Center on Education Policy (CEP) report revealed that of the 40 responding Common Core states, 35 reported that their postsecondary institutions are involved in preparing students in teacher prep programs to teach the Common Core; only 24 are planning to revise teacher prep curriculum to reflect the new standards; 17 indicated that they are planning to make entry requirements for the teacher prep program more rigorous; and 12 percent reported they were revising course requirements for a teaching degree to require more courses in subject matter content.

Tepe’s recommendation is that colleges and universities with teacher prep programs require the incorporation of the state’s college- and career-ready standards required coursework.

“To prepare students to succeed in college and beyond, the spirit of these standards—alignment—needs to go to college as well,” states Tepe. “And each state needs to plan how to ‘do it all in one piece’ if it is going to be a success.”

For much more detailed information and recommendations, read the full report.

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