Today’s students are preparing to enter a globally competitive world requiring more skills and knowledge than ever before. In our own state, to meet the needs of this constantly-evolving work landscape the Partnership for Learning has projected that by the high school Class of 2030 we need 70% of them to obtain a postsecondary credential of some kind (not just a baccalaureate degree) by the time they’re 26.

To ensure all students are ready for success and take advantage of these opportunities, Washington state established K-12 learning standards. Used for math and English language arts, Common Core State Standards are part of these learning standards. The Smarter Balanced Assessment system, administered in grades three through eight and in grade 11, aligns with these standards, and provides teachers with a way to measure student progress and make adjustments and interventions as necessary to ensure that students are on the path to success.

There are four score levels. Students who score a three or four are on target to be college- and career-ready by the end of 12th grade. Tenth graders who score below a three will need extra support to be college-ready. In fact, they may have to take pre-college courses in college, which will cost them time and money.

That’s where Bridge to College transition courses come in.

Under the leadership of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the Bridge to College transition courses have been collaboratively designed and developed by higher education faculty, high school teachers and curriculum specialists from colleges and school districts.

Bridge to College transition courses provide high school seniors not “on track” to be college-ready by graduation another path toward success in college-level work in math and English language arts. Students who earn a B grade or above in Bridge to College courses enrolling in college the following year will be eligible for automatic placement in college level math and English courses at all participating Washington higher education institutions (currently all 34 community and technical colleges plus Eastern Washington University).