Reshaping the College Transition: States That Offer Early College Readiness Assessments and Transition Curricula

Barnett, Elisabeth; Fay, Margaret; Bork, Rachel Julia Hare; Trimble, Madeline Joy

Despite the fact that many states have increased their high school graduation requirements over the last several years, too many graduates are still underprepared for college (Bailey, 2009) and the workforce (Symonds, Schwartz, Ferguson, 2011). Reasons for this underpreparedness include, among other factors: (1) a lack of clear information on students’ progress toward college and career readiness during the high school years that could allow students to address gaps in knowledge and skills, and (2) a mismatch between what high schools teach and the expectations of colleges and employers (Venezia, Kirst, Antonio, 2003). An approach is emerging to remedy this issue. States across the country are administering assessments that measure 11th grade students’ readiness to successfully perform entry-level, credit-bearing postsecondary coursework. Early college readiness assessments can inform students of additional skills they need to gain in mathematics, reading, or writing to enter college without the need for remediation. As a further step, some states are combining early college readiness assessments with structured interventions, which we call transition curricula, for students who are not college ready. Transition curricula consist of a course, a set of modules, online tutorials, or other educational experiences offered no later than 12th grade to students who are at risk of being placed into remedial mathematics, reading, or writing when they enter college (Kannapel, 2012). The availability of transition curricula means that students will no longer need to figure out how to improve their college readiness on their own; rather, they can enroll in a course or other activity in an attempt to attain a higher level of preparation, which might possibly help them avoid remediation (known also as developmental education) altogether. Taken together, early college readiness assessments and transition curricula have the potential to transform the senior year of high school and reconceptualize the high school to college pathway.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Community College Research Center
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 12, 2014