In late 2013, the Washington Student Achievement Council published its “Roadmap,” a ten year plan to increase educational attainment for Washington state’s students, specifically 100% high school diplomas/GEDs achievement and 70% postsecondary certificates or degrees (both for adults under 45). To achieve these goals, the Council identifies three strategies: “ensure access, enhance learning, and prepare for future challenges,” offering specific action items for each (see policy brief links on “Roadmap” page). Action items most likely to directly impact higher education, particularly English and math, include:
- Using CCSS (Common Core State Standards) and SBAC (Smarter Balanced) to place students and to increase offerings of credit-bearing college coursework in high school (see previous policy analysis on this issue);
- Increasing college-level placement, using strategies, such as making college-level the default placement of entering students, offering placement test prep, utilizing diagnostic and formative measures (vs. “sort only” measures), and implementing multiple measures to determine college-readiness (the the most heartening option, as it aligns with research suggesting that high school grades vs. standardized skills tests are better predictors of college success and moves somewhat toward NCTE/CCCC positions on assessment)
- Instituting a “Direct Entry Certificate Agreement,” currently piloted as “Core to College,” which would define high school course work that satisfies college admission and placement requirements;
- Aligning current dual-enrollment models and adding new approaches to earn college credit in high school, including tech prep.