The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has added greater flexibility of college readiness standards for the 2020-21 school year. Normally, the state calls on college campuses to measure students’ readiness for course placement using standardized tests.

The the upcoming school year, institutions can determine their own readiness measures. Students who do not meet the standards must take corequisite courses to obtain academic help while also earning college credit.

COVID-19 has made standardized testing more difficult, according to Melissa Bell, CPE vice president for academic affairs and student success.

“We’re facing an unprecedented year for both students and campuses, and that demands some special consideration on the regulatory level,” Bell said in a news release. “We also have a unique opportunity to reflect on the true definition of college readiness and consider improvements to our process. Campuses are already innovating on alternative indicators that could help redefine our standards in future years.”

Although many Kentucky students completed the ACT before schools were closed due to the virus, those who did not could lack the internet capabilities needed to take the test online. The ACT is still not proctored in person in the state.

The council stated in a release that it plans to track readiness and placement decisions across campuses to determine how students are faring amid any changes. It could use that information to make permanent changes to the statewide standards in the future.

Colleges will still be held accountable on statewide performance metrics, Bell said in the news release.

“Kentucky has made significant headway in improving college readiness in recent years, and campuses have done an exceptional job supporting students through the outbreak,” Bell said. “Now we have a window to assess our gains and implement some upgrades overall. We look forward to seeing how campuses meet the challenge.”

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