Connecting K-12 and Postsecondary Institutions

The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center Affinity Network will build connections between K–12 and postsecondary education systems to facilitate successful transition from high school to college. The network will tackle a new critical issue each year that requires linkages between K–12 and postsecondary systems. The first cohort of College Board member institutions will participate in an intensive, one-year partnership. 

THE CHALLENGE

The need for an education transformation is clear and present: The percentage of American adults with postsecondary degrees or credentials is not keeping pace with that of other industrialized nations. Too many of our young citizens — especially those from low-income and minority groups — are being left behind. Improving postsecondary success for all our citizens, especially those from underrepresented populations, is critical to our nation's economic and social health. Addressing this challenge requires a clear and consistent understanding of what students should know and be able to do to be successful in college and the workforce. This will require collaboration and joint planning between those who prepare students from the earliest age and those who guide their advanced education.

AN OPPORTUNITY

The College Board network of more than 6,000 colleges, universities, schools and institutions is uniquely positioned to provide the support and know-how for a seamless transition from high school to college and career. To be launched in early 2012, the College Board Affinity Network will capitalize on this network and expertise by connecting cross-sector practitioners who are positioned to help create a successful transition from high school to college. The participants will come from urban and rural areas and represent all types of institutions — from public, private and charter schools to two- and four- year colleges and universities. The network will support connections between K–12 and postsecondary education systems by tapping into College Board member institutions across the country. 

The Affinity Network will provide expertise, support and resources through hands-on technical assistance, an online community, research and training. Participants will have access to the latest policy developments, data and issue-area leadership. The network will identify barriers to student success in both K–12 and postsecondary education, as well as innovative ways to overcome those barriers. By sharing best practices and lessons learned, the network will foster a better understanding of how to effectively align K–12 and postsecondary efforts and improve student success. The network's efforts are expected to raise awareness and support for this vital work through policy briefings in Washington, D.C., and in participating states. It will result in new partnerships that develop and advance innovative policies and publish new research. The network will also track and share results from its collaborations.

THE AFFINITY NETWORK'S FIRST CHARGE:

Common Core State Standards Alignment
 

The first challenge addressed by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center Affinity Network is the alignment of the Common Core State Standards between K–12 and postsecondary systems. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards; now they need to develop a mechanism to connect these high school standards to college curricula and ensure alignment with higher education admission requirements. The network will seek to answer two key questions:

  1. How could the Common Core State Standards result in changes/shifts in the alignment of high school exit expectations with postsecondary entrance expectations? And what supports (legislative, institutional, research, resources, conversations, etc.) need to be in place to successfully accomplish this alignment?
  2. How could the Common Core State Standards impact the design of remedial education courses on college campuses?