More States Using Transition Courses to Increase Readiness

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Education Week covered the continuing issue of students taking remedial, or high school-level courses, when they enter college. Many states are moving to 12th grade transition courses in math and English language arts to help increase students’ readiness. Read the full story here.

Seven Smarter Balanced states uses transition courses. In most states, if a student scores a Level 2 (below standard) on their high school Smarter Balanced exam, they can be placed into a 12th grade transition course, developed in cooperation with K-12 educators and higher education faculty. The courses not only increases their readiness, but helps them avoid remedial courses in college if they meet the requirements.

Writes Catherine Gewertz of Education Week:

From coast to coast, states are bringing together high school teachers and college faculty to design a breed of English and math courses that reflect college expectations. Students who perform well in them can enroll directly in entry-level, credit-bearing courses in their state’s colleges, rather than wasting time and money on remedial classes.

Brandon Velazquez is a walking example of how the approach works. As a junior at Granger High School in Washington state in 2015, Brandon scored at level 2 on the English portion of his state’s mandated test, Smarter Balanced. The exam has four levels, with levels 3 and 4 signifying college readiness. Brandon got the message: He took a Bridge to College English course in 12th grade, and it’s paying off for him this year as a freshman at Eastern Washington University.


“I was a little worried when I first got here, but everything’s coming pretty easy to me,” said Brandon, 18, who’s earning A’s in a credit-bearing English course. “That class really helped me.”

Read the full story here.