The Berkshire Readiness Center is working to align curriculum between high school and college so that students will be better prepared to meet the challenges of a college level curriculum. High school teachers work together with college faculty on curriculum alignment to ensure that they understand the expectations of college and are able to prepare their students at levels of sufficient rigor so that remedial work will not be required of them when they begin their college years.
Berkshire Community College (BCC) has been working with high school math teachers for the past two years to develop fourth year high school math classes that will prepare students to be placed in college-level math courses. As a result of this work, high school juniors throughout the county take the math Accuplacer, a college placement test that is used by Massachusetts public higher education institutions to assess students' college readiness. Data from the Accuplacer have been used to design a mathematics course now widely taught throughout the county.
The Readiness Center also plans to align curricula in English. BCC and MCLA are now working with high school and college faculty to improve readiness for college-level reading and writing. High school and college faculty are developing a rubric for evaluating student writing that is consistent with how they will be evaluated in college. Regular meetings of the English alignment committee are held to further develop curriculum for junior and senior year English that is aligned with college expectations.
To date, nine Berkshire County High Schools report that the Accuplacer/alignment initiative had made curricular impact, either through the creation of a new senior year, algebra-based, non-calculus math class, or though the revision of an existing senior year math class.
Last spring BCC examined what other community colleges in the region are doing with Accuplacer and Curriculum Alignment efforts. Out of 18 community colleges surveyed, BCC is the only one working with their local high schools in this regional comprehensive manner to try to align curriculum. BCC and MCLA are doing groundbreaking work in this area.