Core to College Evaluation: Preparing Students for College Readiness and Success

Core to College: Preparing Students for College Readiness and Success is a three-year initiative designed to foster shared ownership of college readiness by the K–12 and postsecondary sectors. The initiative incorporates use of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned assessments to determine a student’s readiness for credit-bearing postsecondary courses.

Core to College grants have been awarded to teams of postsecondary and K–12 educators in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington.

Each of the state teams has designated an Alignment Director (AD) who is tasked with leading the Core to College work in the state. Together, the ADs make up the grant’s Learning Network, which provides facilitated peer-to-peer support, information sharing, and multi-state technical assistance to grantee states.

WestEd is providing evaluation services over the course of the initiative. The evaluation plan is designed to synthesize the progress of the initiative and its participating states, with a focus on the initiative’s primary goals:

  • Creating statewide definitions of college and career readiness
  • Laying the groundwork for the use of the CCSS-aligned assessments for placement in credit-bearing postsecondary courses
  • Aligning K–12 and postsecondary policies to the CCSS

Cross-state, multi-method, qualitative reports are at the center of the evaluation, which is systematically chronicling the progress of the initiative. The evaluation is intended both to illuminate promising strategies and to document challenges. Findings on how states are addressing such issues as stakeholder engagement, aligned curricula, and placement policies and practices are available in the individual Core to College Evaluation research reports (listed under Related Resources on the right-hand column of this page).

The WestEd evaluation team understands that each state is approaching the implementation of the CCSS with its own set of parameters and context: differing stakeholders, funding concerns, size and scope, timelines, and internal priorities. The evaluation activities are intended to recognize that variation and highlight how Core to College can learn from it.

The Core to College project is funded by the Lumina Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Carnegie Corporation of New York. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors serves as the fiscal sponsor.