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Reimagining College Access

Reimagining College Access

The Reimagining College Access (RCA) initiative is a national effort to advance the use of student performance assessments to inform higher education admissions, placement, and advising decisions. Led by the Learning Policy Institute in collaboration with EducationCounsel, RCA brings together a diverse group of k–12 and higher education policy and practice leaders engaged in using authentic assessments of students’ competencies and mastery of the skills needed for college, work, and life in the 21st century.

As k–12 schools expand instruction to include 21st century competencies, education systems are also developing ways to measure mastery of these skills through performance-based assessments, which can better gauge students’ critical thinking skills and college readiness. Simultaneously, a growing number of higher education institutions are exploring how to incorporate broader portfolios of student work in a more holistic admissions process that factors in academic, nonacademic, and contextual information about applicants, as well as in placement and advising decisions. This type of review process has become particularly important to enable colleges to diversify their applicant pool and better assess historically marginalized students who  have been underrepresented in higher education.
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What Is a Performance Assessment?

What Is a Performance Assessment?

Performance assessment is an approach to assessment that measures how well students demonstrate and apply their knowledge, understanding, skills, and abilities. Performance assessments typically require in-depth analyses and student-designed projects and yield tangible products such as papers, presentations, or design specifications that serve as evidence of learning. The goal of using performance assessment is to more closely emulate the real-world conditions of college and career settings, providing robust information about students’ achievements and potential for postsecondary success.


Funding for this project has been provided by the Stuart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation. Core operating support for the Learning Policy Institute is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Sandler Foundation, and MacKenzie Scott. We are grateful to them for their generous support.


RCA is led by the Learning Policy Institute in collaboration with EducationCounsel, a mission-based education consulting firm that combines experience in policy, strategy, law, and advocacy to drive significant improvements in the U.S. education system.

RCA LPI EC July2020 webinar logo comp