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High Schools Bolstering College-Readiness Assessments

Some states are dropping the requirement that students pass exit exams to earn a high school degree—the first time there has been a decline in the practice in six years. However, college- and career-readiness assessments are gaining popularity, and many states are gearing up for new assessments based on the Common Core State Standards.

The 10th annual report out today from the Center on Education Policy outlines trends in high school testing.

(See State Ed Watch and Curriculum Matters for more.)

Of interest to college-bound students:

-Eleven states require juniors to take the ACT or SAT in school during the day. Those requiring the ACT include Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Dakota. In Delaware and Maine, students must take the SAT. Students are given the choice of the SAT or ACT in Idaho and Tennessee.

-A total of 16 states administer or offer assessments to measure students' readiness for college and/or a career. In five of the 16 states, the PSAT is used to assess college and career readiness, and two administer their own state-developed college- and career-readiness assessments. Some states do assessments in 8th or 9th grade to help students decide what classes they need to take in high school to best prepare them for college.

-There are 27 states participating in one or both of the state efforts to develop common assessments aligned to the common-core standards and measuring college and career

-Although the exam policies are meant to assess student readiness for life after high school, just one state—Georgia—indicated the exams are used by potential employers or postsecondary institutions. Experts cited in the CEP report note that success after high school requires more than a certain score on a test and that the problems with alignment between K-12 and college expectations keep the assessments from being widely used by colleges.

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