Postsecondary and PARCC

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The postsecondary education community is playing a critical role in ensuring the long-term success of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and PARCC college- and career-ready assessments.


For the past four years, PARCC has been working with postsecondary system and campus leaders in each state to ensure postsecondary participation in the development of the PARCC assessments and to prepare higher education systems to incorporate the PARCC assessments into their placement policies and practices.

Benefits of PARCC for Postsecondary Education
With over a third of all students requiring remedial education upon enrollment in our nation’s public two- and four-year institutions of higher education (IHE’s), it is clear there is a disconnect between the knowledge and skills students have when they graduate from high school and what they need for success in credit-bearing college courses. The PARCC assessments system is designed to address this disconnect by providing students with clear indicators of college readiness while they are in high school. By providing students with information about whether they are on-track to graduate high school ready to enter into college-credit bearing courses students and K-12 educations systems will have the opportunity to address readiness gaps, well before students graduate.
PARCC state systems and institutions of higher education, many flagship universities, have participated in the development of the PARCC assessments and have been working with campuses to prepare to use the assessments as a placement tool from the beginning of this project.  Our state postsecondary systems have participated in this way because they ultimately intend to use these tests as college placement tools to support students.

Participation in the Design Process
Postsecondary content experts and faculty in mathematics and English language arts have been working with their K-12 colleagues to design and develop PARCC’s high school assessments. They have and will continue to participate in item review, validation research, performance level setting, and incorporation of the PARCC assessments into institution and system level placement policies and practices.  
Higher Education Leadership Team (HELT)
The HELT was established to increase the reach of postsecondary engagement at the state level and to provide a mechanism for reaching and engaging postsecondary campuses. HELT leaders serve as the primary communications liaisons to public 2- and 4- year campuses and higher education systems in their states, facilitate the continuing recruitment of higher education academic leaders and faculty to participate in the development of the PARCC assessments, e.g., as item reviewers, writing panelists, operational working group members, and prepare campuses incorporate the PARCC assessments into their placement policies and practices. HELT members include college presidents, P-20 leadership, representatives from the state departments of higher education, and members of higher education boards, from all PARCC States and the District of Columbia.  
Representation at the National Level
In 2011 the Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR) was established to work with the PARCC Governing Board to shape the consortium’s strategy for working with higher education systems, institutions, and K-12 systems to discuss and set policies to support acceptance of the PARCC College and Career Ready assessments by its colleges and universities as an indicator of readiness for placement into first-year, credit-bearing courses by all colleges and universities across PARCC consortium states. 
Key Policy Decisions of the ACCR and the PARCC Governing Board:  
  • Adoption of the College and Career Readiness Determination Policy (Adopted 10/25/2012)
  • Standard Setting (Summer 2015)
PARCC formed the Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR) to ensure key postsecondary leaders from PARCC states, as well as nationally-recognized leaders in the higher education community, provide guidance to the PARCC consortium’s work in the development of college- and career-ready assessments and serve as ambassadors for PARCC with their postsecondary peers around the country.

Get Involved!
  • Contact the HELT member in your state to find out how you can be involved in your state
  • Sign up for PARCC’s newsletter to stay in the loop on PARCC’s design and development activities and upcoming events
  • Contact your state’s postsecondary or higher education commission, professional association and/or system or institution of higher education to learn more about their efforts around the Common Core State Standards and PARCC in your state

Additional Information
Facts at a GlanceFacts at a Glance
PARCC Participating Post-Secondary InstitutionsPARCC Participating Post-Secondary Institutions
Higher Education Message CardHigher Education Message Card

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