P20 Alignment: High School to Higher Education


What do we mean by P20 alignment? We consider it imperative that what students in Colorado learn in high school prepares them for college or the workforce. That’s why it’s so important that policy reforms at the K-12 level line up with expectations of success at the postsecondary level. This alignment is a cornerstone of our state’s ability to truly prepare students for college or career in the 21st century. On this page, learn more about the many P20 initiatives underway in Colorado, including CAP4K, the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids. At the Department of Higher Education, much of our P20 work is funded through a Core to College Initiative grant from the Rockefeller Family Fund.

Key Initiatives

Click on the links below to learn more about the various strategies underway to update Colorado’s higher education policies and practices to align with the state’s College and Career Readiness goals.

Admission and remedial policy revisions

The state is taking steps to ensure Colorado’s higher education admissions and placement policies support students, align with Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness definition and standards, and clearly link to the new high school graduation requirements. Get more information about admissions policy revisions. And read the FAQ on key changes to the admissions policy. Find information about our remedial policy here. Read the press release announcing changes to the policy.

Faculty teams collaborating for change

We are engaging higher education faculty in the new high school Colorado Academic Standards and aligning first-year credit-bearing coursework to improve transitions for students while building partnerships between content faculty and high school counterparts.  Read more.

Preparing future teachers and leaders

What do the changes in P12 mean for educator preparation programs training future teachers? Colorado is engaging and aligning programs and coursework to address new standards and assessments, as well as implementing a new Educator Evaluation System. Learn more.

District At A Glance

We are collecting data to create easy-to-digest reports, analysis, and information about student success as they move from high school to college and a career.  Check out this interactive database.

Graduation guidelines and PWR endorsed diplomas

We have created  the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness High School Diploma Endorsement to articulate the key four steps a student must successfully complete to not only graduate from high school in Colorado  but to be admitted to most public institutions of higher education. The endorsement provides a number of ways a student can demonstrate readiness for postsecondary education or a career without the need for remediation. Learn more about the state’s graduation guidelines. Read up on the PWR endorsed diploma.

Colorado Academic Standards

The Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) are the expectations of what students need to know and be able to do at the end of each grade. They also stand as the values and content organizers of what Colorado sees as the future skills and essential knowledge for our next generation to be more successful. State standards are the basis of the annual state assessment. Read this backgrounder, which explains the history of the CAS and the critical connection to higher ed. Also, read this FAQ on the standards.  Students will be assessed via online tests called Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS). Learn more.

Colorado Measures of Academic Success 

The CMAS name encompasses the new Colorado-developed science and social studies assessments as well as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)-developed English language arts and mathematics assessments. In compliance with legislation, Colorado joined the PARCC consortia as a governing member in August 2012. PARCC is a multi-state assessment consortium that is developing shared English language arts (ELA) and mathematics assessments. Over 20 states participate in the consortium. As a governing member, Colorado is committed to relying on the PARCC assessment system. PARCC has ELA assessments in grades 3-11 and mathematics assessments in grades 3-8 with three high school assessments. PARCC has developed college and career ready determinations that will be based on the assessments given in 11th grade. It is anticipated that the PARCC ELA and mathematics assessments will replace the TCAP reading, writing and mathematics assessments in the spring of 2015. Check out this PARCC FAQ.  Learn more.