In recent years, a number of high school districts and a few states have moved to require high school students to complete much more sophisticated projects to assess their eligibility for a high school diploma, and their preparation for college and the world of work.

These "performance assessments" frequently are based on synthesis of skills, rather than showing some level of competency in particular academic subjects. And these assessments typically mix individual performance with group work.

A report issued last week by the Learning Policy Institute and EducationCounsel proposes that these high school assessments could be the basis of new and improved ways to admit students to college. The institute is a research organization, and EducationCounsel is a legal organization that has played a key role in defending the use of affirmative action in college admissions.

The effort is receiving support and participation from major admissions organizations (the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and the National Association for College Admission Counseling) and leading colleges and systems (the California Community Colleges, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pomona College, Smith College, the University of California at Riverside, the University of Michigan, the University of Texas at Austin, and others).

Proponents of the new system are creating a series of task forces to determine how the various high school assessments could be better understood by colleges so that they could have the credibility of, say, an Advanced Placement course.

Read the full article on new standards for college admissions by Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed