Proficient Means Prepared​

Higher education leaders across the country are stepping forward to advocate for more ambitious academic standards in high school because better prepared students are much more likely to succeed in college. Proficient in high school should mean prepared for success in college and careers.

Document Downloads

Complete Toolkit
View or download the complete toolkit containing information on the new tests, key messages, best practices in P–20 alignment, and additional resources.
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Joint Statement
From NASH, SHEEO and Higher Ed for Higher Standards on higher education’s commitment to college- and career-ready standards and assessments.
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What Higher Education Leaders Can Do
Suggested communications activities to help higher education leaders show support for your state’s college and career-ready standards and assessments.
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Customizable Templates
Sample editable resources including a board resolution, press release, sample talking points, state profile template and op-ed for before and during the score release.
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More Meaningful Standards and Tests

The results of new K–12 student assessments will be released in across the country, marking a critical milestone in states’ efforts to raise standards and improve college readiness. These new assessments represent a major step forward for students, as well as for colleges and employers. For the first time, meeting standards will mean the students are prepared for successful transitions into credit-bearing college coursework and training opportunities.

Because the assessments have been pegged to higher standards than previous state tests — a college- and career-ready standard — scores may come back lower than what students, parents, and educators are used to. This should not be cause for alarm nor an indictment of our K–12 educators. These tests are simply providing a more accurate assessment of our students’ readiness for postsecondary pursuits.

Higher Ed for Higher Standards (HEHS) launched the Proficient Means Prepared campaign in 2015 to build public understanding and support for college- and career-ready standards and assessments. College leaders in dozens of states are stepping forward to reassure parents, students, educators, and the general public that setting high expectations is the right thing to do, that the new scores are more meaningful, and that higher education stands ready to help more students graduate high school truly prepared for success. They will be strengthening their partnerships with K–12 systems and taking steps to raise college completion rates on their own campuses.

Get Involved

HEHS developed this targeted communications toolkit with suggested activities, sample messages, and case studies of higher education leadership in action to support outreach efforts, and the coalition is working with other higher education organizations and businesses to help implement the campaign. As described in more detail in this toolkit, higher education leaders can contribute in many ways:

  • Publicly express your support for your state’s efforts to raise standards.
  • Play an active role in your state’s media strategy when the new scores are released.
  • Launch and/or expand initiatives to improve college readiness and success.
  • Partner with the business community and other advocates to help spread the word.

Read More

Using our Proficient Means Prepared toolkit, higher ed leaders in more than 10 states reiterated support for higher standards during the score release. Check out select communications here.