Research firm proposes alternative benchmark to 10th grade college and career test



(The Center Square) — The Maryland State Board of Education is one step closer to determining the state’s new, long-term college and career readiness standard, replacing an interim CCR standard in place since February 2022.

Maryland’s General Assembly passed the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in 2021, legislation outlining a comprehensive framework for transforming Maryland’s pre-K-12 public education into a “world-class education system.”

The college and career readiness standard is an integral part of that framework. The CCR standard was created by different state legislation in 2013, but the Blueprint called for a new CCR standard “based on empirical review of high school curriculum and post-secondary expectations.”

The Blueprint also required the new standard to assess students by the end of 10th grade to determine whether they were on track for college or a career post-high school or would need additional support to help them get there.

In response, the state education board allowed for the creation in February 2022 of an interim CCR standard that measured college and career readiness in 10th grade while an external organization, the American Institutes for Research, performed the studies on which the new standard would be based. The interim standard deemed minimum scores of 3 or 4 in English and math on the fall or spring Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program college and career ready; students scoring less than that are to receive an individualized plan that will enable them to meet standards by 12th grade.

Currently, students can pursue post-CCR pathways if they still need to meet the interim standard. However, once the long-term standard is selected and implemented, while students will still be able to graduate high school, they won’t have access to post-CCR pathways.

The Institutes found, in studying students in grade 10 from 2017 to 2021, that only about 40% of students met the interim standard; however, they also found that the interim standard was an accurate predictor of college success only 65% of the time. They examined the possibility of adding another element, like high school GPA, to the standard. Not only did more students meet the hypothetical CCR standard that way, but doing so led to a predictive validity of 75%.

Based on their research, the Institutes initially recommended that an alternative CCR standard take the place of the interim standard, one that employed more methods of measurement besides a simple test score.

“Maryland [should] provide multiple measures for students to demonstrate college and career readiness, including a GPA measure,” the Institutes said in their report.

However, when the board met on Tuesday, Oct. 24, to hear recommendations, a GPA of 3.0 was the only measure added to the test score standard for the future. If the proposal is accepted, if future students fail to meet the test score standard, those with a 3.0 GPA will still be considered college and career-ready.

The proposal will be opened up for public comment in November, and the state board will make its decision in December.

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