Preparing 11th-Graders for College
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.
As a result of a statewide agreement among Washington’s public colleges and universities, high school students who score at college-ready levels 3 or 4 may use the Smarter Balanced score to enroll directly into college-level courses without taking a placement test.
Students who do not score at a college-ready level (levels 3 or 4) on the assessments have the opportunity to catch up their senior year with Bridge to College courses. Students who earn a B grade or above in a Bridge to College transition course and scored at level 2 on the Smarter Balanced Assessment are considered “college-ready.” They are eligible to enroll in college-level math and English at participating public Washington higher-education institutions — including all of the community and technical colleges — without having to take the traditional placement tests like ACCUPLACER.
High school juniors who 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.
The transition courses and placement agreement:
- Help high school graduates avoid remediation and placement tests when they enter college.
- Improve alignment between K-12 and entry-level college math and English curricula.
- Develop and sustain college/K-12 district partnerships and faculty/teacher collaboration.
Courses taught to state learning standards
Collaboratively designed and developed by higher education faculty, high school teachers, and curriculum specialists from multiple colleges and school districts, Bridge to College courses teach to the state learning standards and are grounded in career and college readiness expectations. The project is funded by a College Spark Washington grant.
The Bridge to College mathematics course is a math course for seniors who score a 2 on the Smarter Balanced high school assessment. The course curriculum emphasizes modeling with mathematics and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice. Topics include building and interpreting functions (linear, quadratic and exponential), writing, solving and reasoning with equations and inequalities, and summarizing, representing, and interpreting data. This course must be taught using the Bridge to College mathematics curriculum.
This course develops students’ college and career readiness by building skills in critical reading, academic writing, speaking and listening, research and inquiry, and language use as defined by the Common Core State Standards. Students read complex nonfiction and fiction texts focusing on issues of both current and enduring importance. Students learn to evaluate the credibility of information, critique others’ opinions, and construct their own opinions based on evidence.
By the end of the course, students are able to use strategies for critical reading, argumentative writing, and independent thinking while reading unfamiliar texts and responding to them in discussion and writing. The course also develops essential habits of mind necessary for student success in college, including independence, productive persistence, and metacognition.
- Agreement: Smarter Balanced high school career and college readiness assessment for placement in Washington community and technical colleges (July 2015)
- FAQs and process used to develop the Smarter Balanced agreement (Rev. June 2016)
- Smarter Balanced implementation memo to college staff (June 2016)
- Smarter Balanced Assessment and Placement Agreement (Spring 2016 Update)
Last Modified: 1/11/17 10:55 AM