High School-Level Assessments: Include College-Ready Measures

High School-Level Assessments: Include College-Ready Measures

(i.e., ACT, SAT, EXPLORE, PLAN, PSAT, aligned with college placement tests, etc.)

Why does it matter? Students and higher education institutions benefit when students learn, while still in high school, whether they are prepared for postsecondary education.

This data set identifies one or more of four state activities:

  • State requires all students to take ACT or assessments leading up to ACT (EXPLORE in grade 8 or 9, PLAN in grade 10), SAT or PSAT;
  • State provides funding for schools and districts to offer all students the PSAT, EXPLORE and/or PLAN at no cost to the student;
  • State offers a stand-alone (voluntary or mandatory) assessment aligned with state college placement tests or admission requirements; or
  • State has embedded questions (optional or mandatory) from state college placement tests in mandated statewide high school assessments.

College-ready measures included in this data set do not include state policies that offer to cover the test fees of individual students who elect to take the ACT, SAT, PLAN or PSAT.

Currently, 17 states have one of the four above statewide opportunities for college-ready assessment:

  • Four states currently require all grade 11 students to take the ACT. A fifth state, Wyoming, requires all 11th graders to take either the ACT or WorkKeys.
  • Eight states provide funding for schools and districts to offer all students the PSAT, EXPLORE and/or PLAN.
  • One state (Maine) requires all students to take the SAT.
  • Six states offer a stand-alone assessment aligned with state college placement tests or admission requirements.
  • Two states (California and Texas) have embedded questions (optional or mandatory) from state college placement tests in mandated statewide high school assessments.

Five more states have plans to implement college-ready assessments during the 2007-2008 school year or later.

In addition, 2006 legislation requires Vermont to study the possibility of offering the ACT or SAT to all students.

All sources for all data points are available through this link.

Last updated: April 11, 2007

Please contact Jennifer Dounay at 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org with comments or questions about this database.

Include college-ready measures (i.e., ACT, SAT, EXPLORE, PLAN, PSAT, aligned with college placement tests, etc.)
Alabama No
Alaska No
Arizona No
Arkansas Yes. The Department of Education offers EXPLORE and PLAN to districts at no charge. All students in participating districts must take EXPLORE in grade 8 and PLAN in grade 10.

In addition, as part of its National Governors Association Phase I Honor State grant, "Arkansas will propose assessments to measure if high school students achieve the benchmarks set by the college and work ready standards" via modifications to existing end-of-course assessments.
California Yes. The voluntary Early Assessment Program (EAP) gives 11th graders the opportunity to take augmented versions of the mandatory California Standards Tests in English Language Arts, Algebra II, and Summative High School Math. The EAPs are aligned with California State University's placement tests, and indicate whether a student is ready for college-level coursework or should seek remediation or additional coursework in grade 12.

In addition, the California Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Program offers assessment materials and diagnostic services to secondary level math teachers upon request. A number of tests are available through the program.
Colorado Yes. ACT required for 11th graders.
Connecticut No
Delaware No, although the state plans to pilot a college and work readiness exam within the scope of its Phase I Honor State grant from the National Governors Association.
District of Columbia No
Florida Yes. The state offers every public high school the opportunity to administer the PSAT or PLAN to all 10th graders. "Public school districts must choose either the PSAT/NMSQT or PLAN for districtwide administration." Parents may exempt their students from taking the PSAT or PLAN.

State policy also authorizes 10th graders to take the common placement tests used by public postsecondary institutions in the state.
Georgia No
Hawaii No
Idaho Yes. Effective with the Class of 2012, all grade 11 students will take the COMPASS, ACT or SAT.
Illinois Yes. ACT required as part of the Prairie State Achievement Examination.

In addition, beginning in 2007-2008, the state is providing districts the opportunity to administer the EXPLORE to all 9th graders and the PLAN to all 10th graders at no cost to the district.
Indiana No, although the assessment plan released by the state board in November 2006 calls for 11th and 12th graders to take an assessment aligned to requirements for college and work. The press release on the department Web site as of November 2006 states, "The Board will now send the adopted plan to the legislature for consideration during the upcoming budget session while immediately beginning work to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will provide additional details regarding cost and other aspects of the plan."
Iowa No
Kansas No
Kentucky Yes. The voluntary Early Mathematics Testing Program offers public and private school students the opportunity to take online tests "to determine the level of mathematics knowledge of high school students in relation to the standards of placement tests given at the community and technical colleges and undergraduate public universities." Students may choose to receive the following information for up to three postsecondary institutions in the state:
"1. The student's test score;
2. A list of mathematics courses required for the student's intended major at a postsecondary education institution;
3. A list of any remedial courses the student might be required to take based on the student's current level of mathematics knowledge as demonstrated on the test;
4. The estimated cost of the remedial courses the student might be required to take; and
5. The high school courses and the specific mathematical concepts or functions a student should consider studying in order to address any deficiencies[.]"

In addition, by the 2007-2008 school year, all students will be required to take EXPLORE in grade 8, PLAN in grade 10 and the ACT in grade 11. EXPLORE, PLAN and the ACT are collectively referred to as the "Kentucky Work and College Readiness Examination" or "Readiness Examination."
Louisiana Yes. The Louisiana Board of Regents offers EXPLORE and PLAN to schools at no charge. All students in participating schools must take EXPLORE in grade 8 and PLAN in grade 10. Virtually all schools participate.

In addition, as part of its National Governors Association Honor State efforts, the state plans to develop a college readiness measure using assessment data and coursework completion.
Maine Yes. SAT required for 11th graders.
Maryland No
Massachusetts No
Michigan Yes. ACT required for 11th graders as part of the Michigan Merit Exam.
Minnesota Yes. The Department of Education offers EXPLORE and PLAN to districts at no charge. Students in participating districts may take EXPLORE in grade 8 and PLAN in grade 10.
Mississippi Yes. Subject to appropriation, all grade 10 students must be offered the PSAT or ACT PLAN. However, according to a January 2007 document, the department currently does not have funds to offer students these assessments.
Missouri No
Montana No
Nebraska No
Nevada No
New Hampshire No
New Jersey No
New Mexico Yes. 2007 S.B. 561 directs the department to establish a readiness assessment system by the 2008-2009 school year. The system must be "aligned with state academic content and performance standards, college placement tests and entry-level career skill requirements" and must include:
  • a high school-readiness test in English, reading, math and science in grade 9
  • a college readiness assessment in English, reading and math in grade 10
  • a workplace readiness assessment to test applied skills in reading, math and locating information in grade 11.
  • All students at the specified grade level must participate in the assessment.

    In addition, earlier legislation directs end-of-course exams to be aligned with college placement exams, but these exams have not yet been developed, as the definition of "aligned to college entrance" has not been definitively determined. Once this definition has been clarified, the department will begin development of these exams.

New York No
North Carolina Yes. Every student in grades 8-10 who has completed Algebra I or who is in the last month of Algebra I must be given the opportunity to take the PSAT once at state expense. (Algebra I is a required course for the career preparation and college/university preparation courses of study. The college technical preparation course of study requires either Algebra I or integrated mathematics I. Algebra I is not a requirement for the occupational course of study.)

In addition, the North Carolina Early Mathematics Placement Testing (NC EMPT) Program, supported by the University of North Carolina General Administration, is an optional assessment that provides students the opportunity to take an assessment similar to an actual college mathematics placement test, allowing them to seek further preparation in math (if needed) while still in high school. Tests are provided at no cost to the participating school. According to materials posted to the program Web site, North Carolina public and private high school students who are enrolled in and close to completing Algebra II are the target audience for the program. "Students who have already completed Algebra II and are enrolled in Advanced Functions and Modeling, Integrated Math 3, Precalculus, Discrete Math, Statistics, or a higher-level mathematics course are also strongly encouraged to test."
North Dakota No
Ohio Yes. The Ohio Early Mathematics Placement Testing (EMPT) Program, administered by the Ohio Board of Regents, makes available paper and online assessments to determine high school students' readiness for postsecondary-level mathematics. One assessment is geared toward sophomores; the Ohio EMPT test (also known as the algebra test) is aimed at students (typically juniors) enrolled in Algebra II, trigonometry and precalculus; the Calculus Readiness Test is geared toward students (usually juniors and seniors) enrolled in precalculus and calculus courses. Tests are offered at no cost to students or their high schools.

In addition, 2006 S.B. 311 requires the state's P-16 council, "The partnership for continued learning, in collaboration with the Ohio board of regents and the state board of education, [to] recommend a means of assessing high school students' college and work readiness, especially in English and mathematics." The assessment(s) recommended by the partnership must:
"(A) Measure students' skills against identified college and work-ready expectations in English and mathematics and serve as an indicator of students' readiness to successfully complete introductory level coursework at an institution of higher education and to avoid remedial coursework;
(B) Promote consistency in high school academic course content, quality, and expectations;
(C) Provide individual students with information to assist in planning the remaining high school learning experience;
(D) Serve as one indicator for college admission or placement; [and]
(E) Assist institutions of higher education in aligning remedial coursework with the college and work-ready expectations measured by the assessments."
The partnership must consider existing state and commercial assessments, including the Ohio graduation tests.

In addition, the state board of education, by July 2012, must "select one or more methods of measuring high school graduates' preparedness for higher education and the workforce. The measures may include, but need not be limited to, student performance on the assessments recommended" by the partnership.
Oklahoma Yes. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offers EXPLORE and PLAN to districts at no charge. All students in participating districts must take EXPLORE in grade 8 and PLAN in grade 10.

In addition, the state makes available the Oklahoma Early Mathematics Testing Program (OKTEMTP), a voluntary online assessment that allows students to determine their readiness for entry-level postsecondary mathematics coursework. Students logging in to the OKEMTP site automatically go to the Kentucky Early Mathematics Testing Program (KEMTP) Web site. However, the state currently does not have any means to monitor OKEMTP usage and does not receive this information from KEMTP. At this time, it is not known if the product is widely used in Oklahoma.
Oregon No
Pennsylvania No
Rhode Island No
South Carolina Yes. All grade 10 students must be offered the PSAT or PLAN. In addition, the state secured grant funding to be able to administer the EXPLORE to students in grades 8 or 9 in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. The state department of education in the FY08 budget requested full funding for the EPAS assessments statewide, providing for the administration of EXPLORE to all grade 8 students, PLAN to all grade 10 students and ACT to all grade 11 students who have completed the ACT-recommended curriculum. The request also asks for continued funding for the PSAT in grade 10, to help students determine if they should take the ACT or SAT in grade 11. A determination on this budget request will be made in May or June 2007.
South Dakota No
Tennessee No
Texas Yes. Since spring 2004, performance on the TAKS exit level English language arts and mathematics tests has been used to assess not only a student's level of academic preparation for graduation from a Texas public high school but also the student's readiness to enroll in an institution of higher education. This performance standard, called the Higher Education Readiness Component (HERC), is separate from the TAKS performance standards and was established by the Higher Education Coordinating Board. A student who meets this standard in English language arts and/or mathematics is not required to participate in state-mandated college readiness assessments in the relevant subject area prior to undergraduate enrollment.

In addition, statute directs that any end-of-course assessment that may be developed must be able "to determine the appropriate placement of a student in a course of the same subject matter at an institution of higher education."
Utah No
Vermont No. However, section 20 (g) of 2006 H.B. 867 directs the state commissioner of education to "consult with high school principals and other appropriate people to consider whether" the ACT and/or SAT "should be used to assess student academic progress in the high school grades." The commissioner is required to report back to the house and senate education committees by the end of January 2007 with his recommendations.
Virginia No, although all 10th graders in NGA Honor State Schools take the PSAT at no cost to the student.
Washington Yes. The Transition Mathematics Project (TMP) has developed college readiness math standards that define the attributes, knowledge and skills students entering postsecondary-level mathematics courses should possess. "Phase II of the Transition Math Project includes a math placement testing initiative designed to improve the existing math placement testing process for students making the transition from high school to college, starting with aligning the tests used with the new College Readiness Standards. This work also includes developing a pilot diagnostic assessment tool, linked to the TMP College Readiness Standards, that would be available to students across the state." Phase II is slated for completion by summer 2009.
West Virginia Yes. All students must take EXPLORE in grade 8 and PLAN in grade 10, except for those students who meet the criteria for the Alternative Performance Task Assessment (APTA). In addition, effective with the 2008-2009 school year, all grade 11 students will be required to take the ACT.

In addition, the state will offer three curriculum pathways, effective with the Class of 2009. Students in the "professional pathway" (college-bound pathway) and college-bound students in the "skilled pathway" who do not meet the state assessment college readiness benchmark in English and/or mathematics on the ACT during their junior year will be required to take a college transition English or mathematics course during their senior year. 
Wisconsin No
Wyoming Yes. ACT or WorkKeys required for 11th graders.
Puerto Rico No

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