WA Agreement for Using SBAC 11th Grade Assessment in Placement Process

[AUGUST 2015 UPDATE]

The community and technical college agreement was revised in May-June 2015 to reflect the decision to offer the  English Language Arts assessment to 10th graders as well as 11th graders; to clarify some of the terminology in the agreement, especially related to math courses; and to confirm the inclusion of the Bridge to College courses as part of the overall agreement. These updates and revisions were approved by the community and technical college system in July 2015; here’s the current version of the full agreement:

WA_Final SBAC Agreement_CTC July15

Below is the official version of the Smarter Balanced assessment placement agreement, along with a brief introduction and context, reviewed by Washington higher education system groups in spring 2014.

In May 2014 this agreement was approved by the Washington Association of Community & Technical Colleges (WACTC), the organization of community and technical college presidents in Washington state, on behalf of the 34 Washington community and technical colleges. The agreement was modified slightly in November 2014 to clarify the inclusion of students taking dual-credit courses as seniors.

In September 2014 the six public baccalaureate institutions in Washington approved their own version of the agreement ( 2014_agreement_smarter_balance_finalsigs_BI) The independent colleges in Washington have participated in the review process and are also considering endorsing the agreement.

Here are additional communications documents focused on the policy agreements:

Agreement on the use of the Smarter Balanced high school career and college readiness assessment for placement in Washington community & technical colleges

  1. As part of the Washington implementation of the new Common Core State Standards for college- and career-readiness, the agreement described on the following page has been endorsed by all 34 colleges in the Washington community and technical college system.
  1. Washington public baccalaureate institutions have endorsed a similar but separate agreement. Washington independent colleges and universities have also been invited to participate in the baccalaureate agreement.
  1. The agreements offer high school students the opportunity to use their scores on the high school Smarter Balanced assessment to establish their readiness for college-level coursework when entering higher education institutions in Washington.
  1. The agreements represent the commitment of Washington’s higher education institutions to improve student college readiness by supporting the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in the state. Over time the goal is to increase the number of students enrolling directly into college courses without remediation by
  1. offering students an early opportunity to know whether they are ready for college-level academic work;
  2. providing an incentive for achieving the Common Core standards as reflected in the Smarter Balanced assessment; and
  3. creating alternatives for students, if necessary, to use their senior year more effectively in getting ready for college-level work.
  1. The agreements will be in effect for the high school graduating classes of 2016 through 2018. It will be reconsidered formally in winter 2018 based on student performance data.
  1. The agreements apply only to college readiness and placement considerations for high school students with Smarter Balanced high school assessment scores admitted to and enrolling in the academic year immediately following high school graduation or students enrolling in dual-credit courses as high school seniors.

Please contact Bill Moore (360-704-4346, bmoore@sbctc.edu) if you have any questions.

Agreement on the use of the Smarter Balanced high school career and college readiness assessment for placement in Washington community and technical colleges (Updated July 2015)

SBAC high school  assessment Score Level: Mathematics Placement Options Available Based on Score English Placement Options Available Based on Score
4 Any entry college-level math course through pre-calculus I An entry college-level English course (including but not limited to English Composition or its equivalent)
3
  • Math& 107 (Math in Society), Math& 146 (Statistics), or their equivalents
  • Pre-calculus contingent on a B or better in a calculus pathway class (see note 5) as a high school senior
An entry college-level English course (including but not limited to English Composition or its equivalent)
2 Math& 107 (Math in Society), Math& 146 (Statistics), or their equivalents, contingent on a B or better in the statewide Bridge to College Math course or through local institutional processes (transcript, high school GPA, additional testing, etc.) An entry college-level English course (including but not limited to English Composition or its equivalent), contingent on a B or better in a statewide Bridge to College English course or through local institutional processes (transcript, high school GPA, additional testing, etc.)
1 Additional placement information, determined by local institutional processes (transcript, high school GPA, additional testing, etc.), needed for all entry-level courses Additional placement information, determined by local institutional processes (transcript, high school GPA, additional testing, etc.), needed for all entry-level courses

NOTES:

  1. For all levels in math, placement into more advanced courses than designated in the agreement will depend on additional local institutional placement processes (transcript, high school GPA, additional testing, etc.).
  2. For math, colleges may require additional placement information for initial entry into college-level math courses beginning in the winter term of the entry year following high school graduation.
  3. For English, colleges may require additional placement information for initial entry into college-level courses beginning in the summer term following the first academic year after high school graduation.
  4. For both math and English individual colleges may also extend the time period for honoring the scores for placement.
  5. Any algebra-based courses in the high school math course sequence (with Algebra 2 as a formal or informal prerequisite) qualify as “calculus pathway.”
  6. The Bridge to College course materials in math and English were pilot-tested in 2014-15 and are being offered at roughly 125 high schools across the state in 2015-16. An additional cohort of high schools will be added in 2016-17.

Smarter Balanced Agreement-SBCTC-Nov. 14.2014: information above in pdf format for download [updated November, 2014]

SB Revised Agreement Slides for IC: the overview slide show used to discuss the recommendations with the Instruction Commission (2-year college chief academic officers)

Recommendations Comparison Sheet: a comparison of original draft recommendations with the final proposal, revised by the System Policy Work Group in early April 2014 based on review of the feedback gathered during winter 2014 (see details below)

Draft Policy Recommendations: document containing the full version of the initial recommendations made by the policy work group

SB Placement Recs Show: a slide show presenting the original recommendations with some background material, used to discuss with system groups in winter 2014

Compiled feedback on draft recommendations (received January through March 2014)

Policy work group composition

Slide show for final agreement discussion (policy work group meeting, April 2014)

Background

A cross-sector work group representing a variety of key education stakeholder groups convened in early November to draft system recommendations regarding the use of the Smarter Balanced 11th grade assessment as an indicator of college readiness in the placement process for postsecondary institutions in Washington (see table following this introduction). For more details about the work group or questions about the overall process, please contact Bill Moore, Director, Core to College Alignment, State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, bmoore@sbctc.edu, 360-704-4346.

Feedback Process/Timetable

Comments and input on the initial draft recommendations were taken through April 1, 2014:

  • collectively through discussions at system group meetings during the winter quarter, and
  • individually by reviewing the document (download file at the bottom of this page) and then providing general comments on this page.
  •  via an online survey (now closed).

 In April 2014 the policy work group reconvened to consider the feedback received and finalize the system recommendations [Note: see above for files with the compiled feedback, the final proposal, and some slides showing a summary of the recommendations]. The final proposal will then be shared with key system groups and stakeholders and presented to the 2-year college presidents and 4-year provosts in late spring for their approval. The goal is to inform Smarter Balanced Consortium of Washington’s decisions regarding the 11th grade assessments during the fall 2014 quarter to allow adequate time for students taking the assessment officially for the first time in spring 2015 to understand the potential consequences of the scores.

Rationale for Recommendations:

Supporting the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The standards represent a critical shift in state standards for K-12 students, setting consistent, high, research-based expectations for all students anchored in a clear vision of the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in first-year college courses and postsecondary professional-technical programs. The CCSS were developed through a multi-state, state-led process that involved higher education representatives from the outset – and continued collaboration will be critical for success. Successful statewide implementation of the CCSS will increase significantly the college readiness of Washington high school graduates and reduce their need for precollege work in higher education (ultimately saving money for both students and colleges).

A survey of more than 1800 college and university faculty who teach introductory courses (Conley et al., 2011)[1] indicated substantial consensus that the standards are a coherent representation of the knowledge and skills necessary for success in their entry-level college courses. The Washington English and math faculty who have reviewed the standards as part of the Core to College work reported similar broad support for the key elements and shifts in the CCSS.

 Significance of the Smarter Balanced assessment as an indicator of college readiness. To establish clear and consistent assessments of these rigorous new standards for college and career readiness, two consortia have developed state-of-the-art assessments that will replace the existing K-12 student assessments required for federal accountability, effective spring 2015. Washington has joined the Smarter Balanced assessment consortium (SBAC); by current Washington state legislation, the 11th grade SBAC assessment will be required for high school graduation for the Class of 2019 (but with a separate cut score likely to be below the designated college-readiness level). In the absence of a clear college-readiness benchmark for high school graduates in Washington there will continue to be a gap between academic preparation in high school and the skills/knowledge expectations for succeeding in entry-level college courses, increasing the need for meaningful incentives to encourage student achievement of the new standards.

The use of the SBAC 11th grade scores in higher education as a meaningful indicator of college readiness will help encourage students to meet the standards. Considering these scores as part of the placement process is also timely as national research continues to question the quality and efficacy of existing placement tests.[2] Most Washington public higher education institutions are examining the predictive power of the tests being used for placement, shifting away from single point in time placement test scores toward multiple or alternative measures that provide a richer understanding of student potential for success in college-level work, such as transcript-based placement efforts. Incorporating Smarter Balanced 11th grade scores into these ongoing efforts provides real advantages over existing testing alternatives:

a)      Cost. The test will be taken by all high school juniors and funded as part of the K-12 state assessment system.

b)      Variety and Level of Expectations. Students will encounter new item types, computer-enhanced items, many more constructed-response items, and performance tasks that ask them to write and to use a broad array of knowledge and skills to solve complex real-world problems.

c)      Transparency and Ownership. The test has been designed and will be overseen through the Smarter Balanced consortium of states with ongoing input from hundreds of teachers, higher education faculty, state content specialists and testing experts. The key documents describing the assessment (content specifications, item specifications, item writing training materials, test blueprints, accommodations framework, achievement level descriptors, technology specifications, etc.) are available to the public on the Smarter Balanced website.

Background:

Washington is among 45 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia implementing the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for college- and career-readiness in English Language Arts and Mathematics for grades K-12. As part of this implementation process, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has asked postsecondary education institutions to decide whether and how the 11th grade assessment will be used in placement decisions for high school graduates entering higher education.

During the 2012-13 academic year the Washington Core to College project provided background information about the Common Core and the Smarter Balanced assessment, meeting with various faculty and administrator groups to share updates from the Smarter Balanced consortium, including its approval of a proposed college content-readiness policy framework in late spring 2013. In early November the project convened a statewide policy work group (representing key educational stakeholders from higher education and K-12); at that meeting this group drafted the specific recommendations for Washington’s potential use of the 11th grade assessment (see the link below).


[1] Conley, D., K. Drummond, A. de Gonzalez, J. Rooseboom, and O. Stout. (2011). Reaching the goal:  The applicability and importance of the Common Core State Standards to college and career readiness.  Eugene, OR:  Educational Policy Improvement Center.  Available at https://www.epiconline.org/

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