College & Workforce Readiness

PARCC Makes Inroads as Proxy for College Readiness

By Catherine Gewertz — March 10, 2015 1 min read

Two public colleges in Colorado have said they will consider the results of the PARCC assessment when they place students into entry-level, credit-bearing courses.

The news is significant because it shows that higher education is beginning to embrace the fundamental meaning of the common assessments: that a qualifying score shows a student is ready for college-level work.

Love or hate the Common Core Standards Initiative, this is the linchpin of it: that mastery of the standards, and a “college readiness” score on the accompanying assessments, would connote readiness for college work. The extent to which higher education agrees with that idea is reflected, in part, by how widely it agrees to use the college-readiness scores on the PARCC and Smarter Balanced exams in course-placement decisions.

Colleges and universities aren’t exactly piling on with support for this practice yet. The first such pledges are just starting to roll in. Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., and Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo., are the first to decide to consider PARCC scores in course-placement decisions. Washington state’s university system and the higher-education system in West Virginia made similar pledges last year about their use of scores on the Smarter Balanced assessment.

According to a release from Adams State, that university will give students the option of using their scores when course-placement decisions are being made in 2016. Aims Community College doesn’t appear to be going quite that far yet. It has agreed only to evaluate its students’ PARCC scores to see if they’re valid in predicting readiness for such work.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.