Policy & Collaboration

College Course Placement, Public Institutions

The HECC works closely with Oregon community colleges and public universities on placement and developmental education initiatives. In addition, the agency collaborates with the Oregon Department of Education to promote alignment that supports success in the transition from K-12 to postsecondary education. College course placement is distinct from the admissions process. After students are admitted to a community college or university, their readiness for credit-bearing college courses in writing and mathematics may be determined through placement tests, previous academic achievement, and other measures. Students can find information about each institution’s placement process on the college or university website.

Community College Course Placement

In 2016, the HECC and the State Board of Education carried out a legislative directive to research and jointly submitted a report on Community College Course Placement, pursuant to HB 2681.​ This report provides an overview and recommendations related to using a system of multiple measures for placing students in community college coursework.

Smarter Balanced Scores can Help with College Course Placement

In 2015, Oregon Community College Presidents and University Provosts agreed to incorporate Smarter Balanced test scores into their processes for student placement into credit-bearing college courses. These agreements apply to high school students graduating in Oregon and entering an Oregon community college or public university the following fall. The agreements were extended in 2018 to support continued improvement of score reporting.​

How Does it Work?

A general description of the process is below, and students, families, and counselors should consult institutions directly to learn more about their college level course placement processes.

At community colleges: students will be exempt from placement testing in the academic year immediately following high school completion if they have earned an Achievement Level 3 or 4 on the Smarter Balanced grade 11 assessment in Mathematics and/or English and have successfully completed relevant accelerated college credit options in Mathematics and/or English, respectively, during their senior year. The Smarter Balanced test scores for Oregon students who enroll in an Oregon community college will be made available to the college through the HECC’s student information system.

At Oregon public universities: Smarter Balanced results and senior year course work have been incorporated into each institution’s multiple measures of college readiness for placement purposes.

For questions and additional information on the campus agreements related to Smarter Balanced, contact the campus of interest.​​