Posts published on October 31, 2014

50 State Comparison Of College Readiness Policies

Submitted by: The Education Commission of the States

October, 2014

Education leaders across the nation are working hard to improve their students’ success and transition from high school into postsecondary. With so many variables to consider, this is no small task.

To assist with the process, the Education Commission of the States has launched a Blueprint for College Readiness, which includes a 50-state online database to provide guidance and support to those leaders. This Blueprint features a first-of-its-kind analysis of the top 10 critical K-12 and higher education policies promoting college readiness and success.

“The depth and breadth of valuable information in the Blueprint for College Readiness is extraordinary,” ECS President Jeremy Anderson said. “In addition to the analysis of the top 10 education policies, the Blueprint provides individual state profiles for all 50 states. In a glance you can now see where states are strong and where opportunities for improvement exist.”

The Blueprint is designed to serve as a framework to help K-12 and higher education leaders conceptualize the various education reforms taking place in their states. It unites two driving forces in state and federal policymaking:

  • Improving the college readiness of students preparing to graduate from high school.
  • Decreasing the need for remedial education and increasing the number of students who earn a degree or credential.


As for the nuts-and-bolts of the project, the analysis includes four high school policies, four postsecondary policies and two bridge policies that impact both high school and higher education. The state profiles, including all 50 states and the District of Columbia, allow education leaders to easily understand where strengths and opportunities exist.

The Blueprint examines the following policy areas:

  • High School: College readiness standards, college readiness assessments, graduation requirements and accountability.
  • Higher Education: Statewide admissions standards, statewide remedial and placement policies, transfer and accountability.
  • Bridge: Statewide college and career readiness definition, and a data pipeline and process for reporting.

Additionally, this project includes a 50-state analysis exploring the extent to which states are pursuing these policies, along with accompanying resources, technical assistance and an online database — all designed to respond to the unique needs of the states.

“We all know there is not one magic policy that is going to suddenly improve student outcomes,” ECS Chair and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “It takes a complete system of integrated policies working together to achieve the results our students deserve. This report highlights the importance of K-12 and postsecondary collaboration.”

The Education Commission of the States ( was created by states, for states, in 1965. We track policy, translate research, provide unbiased advice and create opportunities for state policymakers to learn from one another. For more information, contact Communication Director Amy Skinner at (303) 299.3609 or