According to the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges website, “High school juniors in Washington state take the Smarter Balanced Assessment to find out whether they will be ready for college or a career once they graduate.For college-bound students, the assessment helps identify whether they are on track to go directly into college-level courses, or whether they might need remediation instead…High school juniorswho score at college-ready levels 3 or 4 may also skip placement tests.This opportunity is the result of a statewide agreement among Washington’s public colleges and universities.”
An anecdotal concern of some composition instructors is that by increasing the number of students who enter college early, there is that a significant number, probably 30-50%, of Running Start (ST) students who lack study skills and maturity to be successful in college classes, which off-sets their academic preparedness. RS students are sometimes unprepared for a lack of daily and personal interaction with their professors, and a lack of gate keeping of their performance. RS students seem to perform on extreme ends; they are either superior or inadequate students. The inadequate students often don’t show up for class, especially if attendance is not required, expect to make up for their lack of work during the academic term by completing extra credit, and they fail to submit assignments on time. They do not actively engage their professors until it is too late when they fall behind or perform poorly on assignments. Originally, students were placed into Running Start and other dual-credit programs as seniors (based on the 11th grade scores). Now there’s general consensus that placement will be extended to allow juniors enrolling in dual-credit courses to use their 10th grade scores for placement purposes. Dual-credit was a relatively small element whenWashington wasonly using 11th grade scores, given that many fewer students start RS as seniors. Now that juniors wanting to take dual-credit courses can use their 10th grade scores, at least for English it could involve a bigger cohort of students and possibly new preparedness issues.