Washington’s public colleges and universities were among the first in the nation to agree to let students skip remedial classes if they score high enough on the 2015 Smarter Balanced assessment, a test tied to the Common Core education standards. Now, the newspaper Education Week reports that such agreements have spread to six states.
According to Education Week, all public colleges and universities in Oregon, Hawaii, Delaware and South Dakota have agreed to accept Smarter Balanced scores. In California, all 23 campuses of California State University and 78 of the state’s 112 community colleges have accepted the agreement.
The Smarter Balanced tests are being given this spring to all Washington 11th-graders, as well as students in grades 3-8, and are designed to measure whether students are on track to meet the expectations of the Common Core. Eleventh-graders who score at the top two levels will be placed directly into college-level math and English when they enter any Washington public two- or four-year college.
Typically, many state colleges require students to take math and English placement tests, regardless of the students’ grades or scores on tests such as the SAT. More than half of all recent high-school graduates entering community college don’t score high enough to avoid remedial math, and those courses don’t earn students credits toward graduation. Colleges hope this new arrangement will reduce the number of students who have to go through remedial classes.
Education Week said the fact that six states have accepted Smarter Balanced scores “marks a major development” in the bid to convince colleges and universities to accept the test for course-placement purposes.
Meanwhile, many students across the nation – including hundreds in Seattle – have refused to take the Smarter Balance tests, saying they waste valuable instruction time.