FAQ

Frequently asked questions for students, parents, and educators.


General Questions:

  1. Which high schools are currently teaching the Bridge to College Courses?

In the 2015-2016 school year, approximately 250 teachers representing 132 high schools from over 80 school districts will offer one or both of the Bridge to College transition courses. A list of high schools currently offering the courses can be found on the project website at: http://www.bridgetocollegecourses.org (set to go live by September, 2015).

  1. Is this course required? If we choose to get involved, do we have to do both Math and English?

No, the Bridge to College courses are not required. No, you do not have to offer both courses; schools who decide to offer the courses can choose to offer the Bridge course in only one subject area.

  1. Is anything like this is being planned for science?

Colleges do not “place” students in science classes and have no “remedial” science courses like in English and math, so there is not the same need for courses that would help reduce the number of students taking precollege classes in college. There has been some discussion at a statewide level of a comparable course in science based on the Next Gen Science Standards but there are no firm plans or funding in place.

Registration, Funding, and Implementation Logistics:

  1. When will registration open and when will districts receive “approval” through iGrants to offer the Bridge to College Courses for the 2016-17 year?

The application process through iGrants will begin no later than January 2016 (and possibly earlier). Initial approval / announcements will begin no later than the end of February and will be updated on a weekly or bi-weekly basis through the end of April via iGrants. The OSPI Bridge Course website will also be updated accordingly as to when the registration window closes.

(http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/BridgetoCollege/default.aspx)

  1. Will smaller districts and rural ones be on equal footing with larger districts during the selection process?

Absolutely – there is a priority selection for schools that have 50% Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) students but other than that, selection is based on the order in which the registrations are received.

  1. What are the professional development funds intended for?

The professional development funds, which are part of the grant funds being awarded to districts through iGrants, are intended to cover: a) teachers’ travel expenses and stipends for the summer training; b) travel and subs for 5 Professional Learning Community/workshop days during the year; and c) some money for classroom materials related to the course.

  1. Can you please provide a breakdown of how the $2500/per teacher is supposed to be used?
  • $750 stipend for the 3-day August training
  • $625 sub costs for 5 days of regional/local training held during the school year (average of $125/day)
  • $625 travel costs support for teachers to attend training sessions – this includes

covering meals and transportation costs for the summer training (hotel will be covered by the overall grant) and transportation and meals for the school year trainings

  • $500 for materials and supplies related to teaching the Bridge to College Courses

These are projected estimates. Each district determines expenditures towards stipends and travel; districts may provide additional support, provided that individual teachers receive a minimum stipend of $750 (per terms of the grant).

In the event of a budget shortfall, districts are expected to provide an “in-kind” contribution to the work by covering the difference.

  1. Will the cost of student materials be covered or have to be purchased?

Each district receives the same budget amount from the College Spark Washington grant. The $2500/per teacher assumes that $500 will be utilized for materials and supplies related to teaching the Bridge to College Course.

  1. Are there funds for computers and software for districts that are not up to date?

No, the money is to support professional development for teachers implementing the course. Students do not need computers to engage in this course.

  1. If a teacher attended the summer Bridge Course training but enrollment drops and the teacher does not end up teaching the Bridge course, do they still get the $750.00 stipend plus travel costs from the grant?

Yes.

  1. If a teacher attends the Bridge summer training but does not teach the Bridge course, can the teacher still participate in the Communities of Practice?
    No, to participate in the Communities of Practice, the teacher needs to be actually teaching the course.
  1. Can students who enter the school at the second semester enter the Bridge courses?

Students who enter the Bridge course mid-year will not qualify for the higher education placement agreement. However, the high school may still opt to place students in the course mid-year if the Bridge course is appropriate for them.

  1. Where can we access parent letters and information for students and parents?

These resources can be found at: http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/BridgetoCollege

  1. Can Running Start students take the Bridge courses?

Yes, however, the student would need to take the Bridge course at their high school since they are not college-level courses.

  1. How do teachers help create buy-in with students who did not select the Bridge to College course as one of their courses within their schedule?

Communication to students and parents about the value and importance of the Bridge courses in supporting their success in college in mathematics and ELA will be important. You can access resources for parents and students at: http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/BridgetoCollege

  1. What data will be collected for the Bridge to College courses?

Using the Bridge to College courses’ unique course codes, evaluators from the BERC Group will be collecting longitudinal data to assess the outcomes from participating in the courses, including course completion records, grades, and assessment results (MSP/SBAC). They will also track students through college to learn more about the impact of the class. All of this data will be gathered from third party resources, and we do not anticipate requesting records through the schools.

  1. How do we get the Bridge courses in Skyward or on any 1-to-1 devices?

You will need to work with your IT department to determine how to access the reporting tools and curriculum using the technology in your district.

  1. How much will the stipend be for the Bridge Team Leaders?

The Bridge Team Leaders will facilitate their local Community of Practice. These Team Leaders are teachers who are teaching the course and will also plan and collaborate with their Bridge Course Trainer to planning for the Communities of Practice meetings. The Leaders’ stipend is $1500 to pay for their planning time for the Communities of Practice and to provide feedback to the Bridge Course Trainers about successes, challenges, and possible revisions.

  1. How long are the Bridge Teams/Communities of Practice meetings?

Teachers are required to attend all 5 of the Bridge Team/Communities of Practice meetings during the school year. Each Communities of Practice meeting will be a minimum of 5 hours (not including lunch). Lists of the Bridge Team/Communities of Practice are available at:

http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/BridgetoCollege

Graduation Requirements, Dual Enrollment, COE, NCAA Questions:

  1. Will passing this course count as an “alternative” to passing the SBAC as a graduation requirement?

Currently, the courses do not replace the requirement for meeting standard on the high school assessments required for graduation purposes. The State Legislature designates the approved alternatives for high school graduation and the Bridge Courses are not yet included. To access online the variety of graduation assessment alternatives for students who do not pass the high school assessments required for graduation, see: http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/GraduationAlternatives/default.aspx

  1. Do the Bridge Courses count as a “Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) Option”?

There are two components to the CAA, course and non-course requirements. The Bridge to College courses do count towards high school course credits (4th credit of English and 3rd credit of math). However, the Bridge to College courses are not an alternate assessment to meet the additional non-course graduation requirements.

  1. Do the Bridge Courses count toward meeting the English and Math credit requirements for high school graduation?

Yes. Districts and schools can award credit for both courses. These credits can be counted for graduation purposes. This will help students still needing the required course credits in English and math. For math, the Bridge to College course will meet the requirement for the 3rd credit of math but cannot replace Algebra 1, Algebra 2 or Geometry. For ELA, students can take the Bridge course in place of their senior ELA course.

To meet the minimum admissions requirements for state baccalaureate institutions, students need to pass Algebra 2 for their 3rd credit of math. The Bridge to College Mathematics course does meet the baccalaureate senior year requirement for a math or quantitative reasoning course as determined by the Washington Student Achievement Council (College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR), 2014).

  1. Is there a relationship or parallel between the Bridge to College courses and the dual credit courses that are currently in place in high schools?

No, these Bridge courses are not designed for dual enrollment as they are not college level courses. Bridge courses are designed to prepare students to enter college level courses after graduation.

  1. Does the Bridge course replace or connect to the Collection of Evidence (COE) course?

At this time, the Bridge course cannot replace the COE course. Schools that have a COE course and choose to offer a Bridge course will need to offer both courses. Teachers who have experience with both types of courses indicate that the Bridge courses and the COE courses are fundamentally different because the Bridge course uses a comprehensive curriculum that is grounded in a progression of learning and the Washington state K-12 Learning standards (Common Core).

  1. Does the Bridge to College course include training our Internet Academy teachers and putting it online or does it only include our face-to-face classrooms?

At this time, the course is not designed as an online course and should only be taught in a face-to-face classroom setting.

  1. Can juniors be placed in the Bridge Course? 

Schools are permitted to enroll juniors in the Bridge courses, however, the course is designed for seniors so they are able to take advantage of the higher education placement agreement.  One of the key attributes of these courses is that the curriculum is designed to prepare students for success in college. The placement agreement will only be applicable to seniors.

  1. How will a “B” be defined for each of the Bridge courses?

The Communities of Practice for both ELA and math will determine what defines a “B” in the course. The Bridge Course teachers and higher education faculty members will collaboratively examine student work and discuss and decide what a “B” would look like based on evidence of student work.

  1. Are the Bridge to College courses NCAA approved?

After a series of discussions with NCAA staff, we have been informed that they would not be approving our Bridge courses (or any other similar transition courses in other states) on a statewide basis.

They also indicated that the Bridge to College Math course was NOT approved based on the fact that its content includes topics from earlier courses; they have made similar decisions in other states that are using the same curriculum as a foundation for a transition course. On the other hand, the NCAA only requires 3 years of math (Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry, or Math I, II and III); a fourth year math is not relevant for their purposes, so if the course is used as a senior-level, 4th-year course, NCAA approval is not necessary. However, if a student chooses to use this course as a 3rd math credit (as an alternative to Algebra 2) then NCAA approval would be required IF the student wants to be a Division I or II student-athlete in college. While the course qualifies as a 3rd-year alternative to Algebra 2, it will not satisfy the higher education placement agreement with the community and technical colleges unless the student takes the Bridge to College course in their senior year. At least for now, the course does not qualify as a substitute for Algebra 2 in terms of the minimum admissions standards for the public baccalaureate institutions. That issue is currently being reviewed, however, and may be updated later in fall 2015.

For the Bridge to College English course, schools need to follow the standard NCAA process through their Eligibility Center web portal (https://web3.ncaa.org/hsportal/exec/homeAction) using the course title and code: Bridge to College English Language Arts, #01069

Higher Education Agreements and Placement:

  1. When will the Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) placement agreements go into effect so Bridge course students can enter credit bearing courses in their first year of college?

Beginning in spring 2015, high school students who score a 2 on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in math or English, earn a B or better in the Bridge courses as seniors the following year (2015-16), and then begin college in the Fall of 2016, will be placed directly into a college-level math (not on a calculus or STEM pathway) or English composition course. They will be placed at the same level as students who scored at level 3 on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This agreement regarding the Bridge courses pertains to all 34 community and technical colleges in the state of Washington but NOT currently to the baccalaureate institutions in the state.

  1. Please clarify the placement agreement with higher education for students who are successful in the course (receiving a “B or better”). How is this different than the admission process?

The placement agreements with higher education are meant only for making decisions about students who have already been admitted to college. The admission process and the placement process for their first-year courses are two separate processes.

  1. Are all Washington community and technical colleges participating in this placement agreement?

Yes, the current placement agreement related to the Bridge courses is with all 34 of the state’s Community and Technical Colleges. There is also interest among the baccalaureates to consider the courses for placement as well, but the baccalaureate institutions currently do no include the Bridge courses as part of their Smarter Balanced placement policy agreement.

  1. Can you elaborate on “excluding pre-calculus?”

The credit bearing courses that students will place into as a result of earning a B or better in the Math Bridge course would be courses such as quantitative reasoning or statistics, not algebra-intensive courses that are considered to be part of the STEM pathway such as pre-calculus and calculus. This is because courses on the STEM pathway have specific pre-requisites that are not met through the Bridge course.

  1. Can you describe the ideal student “profile” for students who are well-suited for the Bridge courses and should be placed in the course if they did not take the Smarted Balanced Assessment or have not yet received their scores?

While the Bridge courses have been designed for students who do not meet standard on the state high school assessment, they will also work well for students who desire to go from high school into college but are struggling with their current coursework.

Schools and districts are encouraged to use their best professional knowledge for placing students in the course for the coming year. Here are some specific suggestions for placement into these courses:

AVID: Students who may be participating in AVID Elective and Secondary programs, because of their involvement in AVID, may likely be struggling with content and have a strong desire to go to college and work hard. These students are generally capable of completing rigorous courses but are falling short of their potential. Given the design of most AVID programs, AVID students may be a good match for placement in the Bridge to College courses.

ELA:  Seniors who score below college-ready on the 11th grade Smarter Balanced assessment but are interested in attending college and would like to enter directly into a college Composition class without remediation or placement testing when enrolling in college after graduation. Students who seek to strengthen their literacy skills may also choose this course as an alternative to a core English 12 class.

Math:  The course is specifically designed for students scoring at Level 2 on the Smarter Balanced 11th grade assessment, but the course could be a useful experience for any senior student interested in improving their college readiness skills. In particular, you should consider given priority to the following students:

  • Seniors who have taken but not passed Algebra 2 OR who passed but would benefit from additional math intervention.
  • Seniors who are recommended by high school instructors based on other factors such as readiness and their high school and beyond plans.
  1. If students did not take the Smarter Balanced assessment and do not have a SBAC score, can they still access the placement agreement with the community colleges?

No, students must have taken the SBAC and show evidence of receiving a “2” and a B or better in the Bridge Course in order to enter into college-level courses without taking additional placement tests at the college.

ELA-Specific Questions:

  1. There are 13 ELA modules; will teachers be able to choose which modules to teach when they offer the full course or will they have to teach them all?

Bridge to College English requires that students complete six of the thirteen available modules. Two of the six modules selected must include book length texts, including one novel (Ubik, 1984, or Brave New World) and one nonfiction text (Into the Wild or The Shallows). Books must be read in their entirety. Teachers may select modules using any of the three possible structures: a semester model that allows teachers to divide the year into two equal parts with one book length text in each part; an annual model for teachers who want to select and sequence models in a year-long structure; and three thematic models that meet the module requirements and organize texts based on topics and content. As long as six modules are selected and two of the modules include a novel and a book length nonfiction text, teachers may select any modules and sequence them any way they see fit.

  1. Where can I find the materials for the ELA modules?

The course materials are currently being refined and updated in preparation for the 2015-16 academic year. When they are available for review online, a link will be available on the project web site: http://bridgetocollegecourses.org

Math-Specific Questions:

  1. Do you think this course would be appropriate for students who have taken and passed Algebra 2 but need math their senior year for college entrance?

Yes, if they are not intending to take college courses on the STEM pathway (pre-calculus, calculus), this course is a good option to complete the senior year quantitative reasoning course required for baccalaureate admission.

  1. Where can I find the materials for the Math course?

Teachers and administrators who are interested in the Math course are granted access to the math course on the WAMAP web platform (http://www.wamap.org). Register as a student in WAMAP and then use the Course ID: 10465 and Enrollment Key: math.

Bridge to College Partners

  • partner college Spark
  • partner SBCTC
  • partner SOPIW

Bridge to College transition courses is the collaborative effort of three organizations committed to student learning and success in Washington state: The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and College Spark Washington.