College- and Career-Ready Assessments

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States must build measures of college and career readiness into their high school assessment systems to determine whether students are on track for credit-bearing postsecondary courses and careers before their senior year.

Most high school tests typically measure 8th, 9th and 10th grade skills — only a subset of the skills students will ultimately need after graduation. Very few states measure students' readiness for college and career. As a result, colleges and employers pay little attention to state assessment results, sending a signal to students and parents that student performance on those tests does not matter.

With assessments that produce results actually used by colleges, state assessment systems can be truly anchored to college- and career-ready expectations and become powerful tools to improve instruction and strengthen student preparation. High schools will be able to work with high school students to close learning gaps before graduation, and postsecondary institutions will be able to confidently use these results for placement decisions.