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High School-Level STEM Initiatives: State Offers College Readiness Assessments in Math and/or Science

Why does it matter?
  • Offering high school students the opportunity - or requiring them - to take assessments with college-readiness indicators identifies areas of academic deficiency prior to postsecondary enrollment.
  • Addressing skills deficiencies in high school can save students time and money that might otherwise be spent on costly remedial classes at a postsecondary institution.

  • Highlights

    Twenty-two states provide students with college-readiness assessments in mathematics and/or science.

    Sources for all data points are accessible through this link.

    Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agency Web sites, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

    Last updated: June 2008

    This database was compiled by Kyle Zinth, policy analyst, ECS Information Clearinghouse. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3673 or kzinth@ecs.org.

    State offers college readiness assessments in math and/or science
    Arkansas Yes, the department of education offers EXPLORE and PLAN to districts at no charge. All students in participating districts must take EXPLORE in grade 8 and PLAN in grade 10.
    California Yes, the voluntary Early Assessment Program (EAP) gives 11th graders the opportunity to take augmented versions of the mandatory California Standards Tests in Algebra II, and Summative High School Math. The EAPs are aligned with California State University's placement tests, and indicate whether a student is ready for college-level coursework or should seek remediation or additional coursework in grade 12.

    In addition, the California Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Program offers assessment materials and diagnostic services to secondary level math teachers upon request. A number of tests are available through the program.
    Colorado Yes, ACT required for all 11th graders.
    Florida Yes. The state offers every public high school the opportunity to administer the PSAT or PLAN to all 10th graders. "Public school districts must choose either the PSAT/NMSQT or PLAN for districtwide administration." Parents may exempt their students from taking the PSAT or PLAN.

    State policy also authorizes 10th graders to take the common placement tests used by public postsecondary institutions in the state.
    Idaho Students entering 9th grade in the fall of 2009 or later will be required to take COMPASS, ACT or SAT before the end of 11th grade.
    Illinois Yes, ACT mathematics and science examination required of 11th graders as part of the Prairie State Achievement Examination.
    Kentucky Yes, the voluntary Kentucky Early Mathematics Testing Program offers public and private school students the opportunity to take online tests "to determine the level of mathematics knowledge of high school students in relation to the standards of placement tests given at the community and technical colleges and undergraduate public universities."

    Students may choose to receive the following information for up to three postsecondary institutions in the state:
  • The student's test score.
  • A list of mathematics courses required for the student's intended major at a postsecondary education institution.
  • A list of any remedial courses the student might be required to take based on the student's current level of mathematics knowledge as demonstrated on the test.
  • The estimated cost of the remedial courses the student might be required to take.
  • The high school courses and the specific mathematical concepts or functions a student should consider studying in order to address any deficiencies.

  • Additionally, starting with the 2007-08 school year, all students will be required to take EXPLORE in grade 8, PLAN in grade 10 and the ACT in grade 11. EXPLORE, PLAN and the ACT are collectively referred to as the "Kentucky Work and College Readiness Examination" or "Readiness Examination."
    Louisiana Yes, the Louisiana Board of Regents offers EXPLORE and PLAN to schools at no charge. All students in participating schools must take EXPLORE 8th grade and PLAN in 10th grade. Virtually all schools participate.

    In addition, as part of its National Governors Association Honor State efforts, the state plans to develop a college readiness measure using assessment data and coursework completion.
    Maine Yes, all 11th graders are required to take the SAT.
    Michigan Yes, all students are required to take the ACT in 11th grade.
    Minnesota Yes, the Department of Education offers EXPLORE and PLAN to districts at no charge. Students in participating districts may take EXPLORE in 8th grade and PLAN in 10th grade.
    Mississippi Yes, subject to appropriation, all 10th grade students must be offered the PSAT or ACT PLAN. However, according to a January 2007 document, the department currently does not have funds to offer students these assessments.
    New Mexico Yes, 2007 S.B. 561 directs the department of education to establish a readiness assessment system by the 2008-09 school year. The system must be "aligned with state academic content and performance standards, college placement tests and entry-level career skill requirements" and must include a college readiness assessment in mathematics in 10th grade that all students will be required to participate in.
    North Carolina Yes, every 8th-10th grader who has completed Algebra I or who is in the last month of Algebra I must be given the opportunity to take the PSAT once at state expense. (Algebra I is a required course for the career preparation and college/university preparation courses of study. The college technical preparation course of study requires either Algebra I or integrated mathematics I. Algebra I is not a requirement for the occupational course of study.)

    Additionally, the North Carolina Early Mathematics Placement Testing (NC EMPT) Program, supported by the University of North Carolina General Administration, is an optional assessment that provides students the opportunity to take an assessment similar to an actual college mathematics placement test, allowing them to seek further preparation in math (if needed) while still in high school. Tests are provided at no cost to the participating school.
    Ohio Yes, the Ohio Early Mathematics Placement Testing (EMPT) Program, administered by the Ohio Board of Regents, makes available paper and online assessments to determine high school students' readiness for postsecondary-level mathematics. One assessment is geared toward sophomores; the Ohio EMPT test (also known as the algebra test) is aimed at students (typically juniors) enrolled in Algebra II, trigonometry and precalculus; the Calculus Readiness Test is geared toward students (usually juniors and seniors) enrolled in precalculus and calculus courses. Tests are offered at no cost to students or their high schools.

    In addition, 2006 S.B. 311 requires the state's P-16 council, "The partnership for continued learning, in collaboration with the Ohio board of regents and the state board of education, [to] recommend a means of assessing high school students' college and work readiness, especially in English and mathematics." The assessment(s) recommended by the partnership must:
    "(A) Measure students' skills against identified college and work-ready expectations in English and mathematics and serve as an indicator of students' readiness to successfully complete introductory level coursework at an institution of higher education and to avoid remedial coursework;
    (B) Promote consistency in high school academic course content, quality, and expectations;
    (C) Provide individual students with information to assist in planning the remaining high school learning experience;
    (D) Serve as one indicator for college admission or placement; [and]
    (E) Assist institutions of higher education in aligning remedial coursework with the college and work-ready expectations measured by the assessments."
    The partnership must consider existing state and commercial assessments, including the Ohio graduation tests.

    The state board of education, by July 2012, must "select one or more methods of measuring high school graduates' preparedness for higher education and the workforce. The measures may include, but need not be limited to, student performance on the assessments recommended" by the partnership
    .
    Oklahoma Yes, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offers EXPLORE and PLAN to districts at no charge. All students in participating districts must take EXPLORE in 8th grade, PLAN in 10th grade and ACT in 11th or 12th grade.

    In addition, the state makes available the Oklahoma Early Mathematics Testing Program (OKTEMTP), a voluntary online assessment that allows students to determine their readiness for entry-level postsecondary mathematics coursework. Students logging in to the OKEMTP site automatically go to the Kentucky Early Mathematics Testing Program (KEMTP) Web site.
    South Carolina Yes, all 10th graders must be offered the PSAT or PLAN.
    Texas Yes, performance on the TAKS exit-level mathematics tests is used to assess not only a student's level of academic preparation for graduation but also the student's readiness to enroll in an institution of higher education. This performance standard, called the Higher Education Readiness Component, is separate from the TAKS performance standards and was established by the Higher Education Coordinating Board. A student who meets this standard is not required to participate in state-mandated college readiness assessments in the relevant subject area prior to undergraduate enrollment.

    Additionally, statutes require that any end-of-course assessment that may be developed must be able "to determine the appropriate placement of a student in a course of the same subject matter at an institution of higher education."
    Washington Yes, Phase II of the Transition Math Project (TMP) includes a mathematics placement testing initiative that includes developing a pilot diagnostic assessment tool, linked to the TMP College Readiness Standards, that would be available to students across the state by summer 2009. Subject to funding, districts will be required to provide all high school students enrolled in the district the option of taking the assessment at no cost to the student.
    West Virginia Yes, students are required to take the PLAN in 10th grade, except for those students who meet the criteria for the Alternative Performance Task Assessment (APTA). In addition, effective with the 2008-09 school year, all 11th students will be required to take the ACT.

    In addition, the state will offer three curriculum pathways, effective with the Class of 2009. Students in the "professional pathway" (college-bound pathway) and college-bound students in the "skilled pathway" who do not meet the state assessment college readiness benchmark in or mathematics on the ACT during their junior year will be required to take a college transition mathematics course during their senior year.
    Wyoming Yes, ACT or WorkKeys required for 11th graders.


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