College Content-readiness Policy Approved for Common Core Standards


A college content-readiness policy was approved last month by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s 21 governing states, including Missouri.

“The approval of the college content-readiness policy is part of the next step in the development of assessments of our college- and career-readiness content standards,” said Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. “These assessments will help determine whether our students are college- and career-ready prior to leaving high school and provide the opportunity to intervene before remediation is needed.”

College- and career-readiness is one of the Department’s Top 10 by 20 goals to become one of the top states in education by the year 2020.

Smarter Balanced is a state-led consortium developing assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics that are designed to help prepare all students to graduate high school college- and career-ready.

The other component of the assessments is the achievement level descriptors (ALDs), which describe performance on a standardized test. The initial ALDs were approved by the Smarter Balanced governing states in March, although they may be revised based on field test results of the assessment system in early 2014.

The draft initial ALDs and college content-readiness policy framework are part of a critical effort to ensure that the grade 11 summative assessment can be used as evidence that students are ready for entry-level, transferable, credit-bearing courses in English and mathematics and should be exempted from remedial coursework. The policy could help save families and students tuition money and time spent on college remediation courses.

The policy and ALDs were developed collaboratively by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) are the two consortia of states developing assessments for the Common Core State Standards. Missouri is one of 25 states participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and one of 45 states that adopted the Common Core State Standards. 

The college content-readiness policy and ALDs for English language arts/literacy and mathematics can be found on the Smarter Balanced website. For more information, visit