Sunday, January 25, 2009

CPE lowers reading readiness score, slows readiness schedule

In 2007, Kentucky public postsecondary education set a systemwide ACT standard of 18 in English, 19 in mathematics, and 21 in reading. The regulation specified that, starting in the fall of 2009, students scoring below that standard would be required to take a developmental (non-credit) course or a for-credit courses with "supplementary academic support" during their first semester.

January 16, the Council on Postsecondary Education took the first step to change those rules by:
  • Moving the reading standard from 21 to 20.
  • Allowing students two terms, rather than one, to do the developmental coursework.
  • Making the requirement effective in the fall of 2010 instead of 2009.
Giving reasons for the change, CPE staff noted newly received data on student reading performance and ACT scores as well as funding and staffing difficulties. Fairness was an additional reason because, after the 2007 amendment, "new standards of placement were not included in many of the materials distributed during 2008-09 and many prospective students, parents, high school guidance counselors, principals, and other K-12 school administrators were not informed."

The proposed amended regulation can be downloaded here: it's item 3 on the agenda. Because the regulatory amendment process has multiple steps, the draft may be changed several more times before becoming official some months from now.


  1. I'm no longer in frequent contact with schools. I have a question for those who are: How aware are people in high schools -- teachers, principals, counselors, students -- of the connection between ACT scores and remedial classes at the college level? How about parents? Is avoiding remedial courses in college a goal that students (and school staff) organize their work around, or is all of this discussion and policy outside their frame of reference?

  2. Welcome, Carol!

    Under Senate Bill 168, students are taking three tests designed to keep this in the spotlight: eighth grade Explore, tenth grade Plan, and eleventh grade ACT. If the scores aren't strong enought, they are entitled to added services designed to get them up to readiness. Where the law is being strongly implemented, the issue will get quite a lot of attention.

    That said, I'm not hearing a lot of noise about schools feeling burdened by those requirements, which could mean it's working well or could mean the exact opposite. My guess is it varies based on local leadership.

  3. Carol - From working with many HS seniors this year, I don't think many parents understand the connection between ACT scores and remedial classes, especially parents who have never attended college. There is alot of emphasis on composite ACT score (you need a 20 to go to X university), but I don't think parents are looking at individual subtest scores. It's a symptom of the Individual Graduation Plan being implemented in name only...students and faculty are going through the motions, but no real planning for this major transition to post secondary is happening, at least in my neck of the woods. Only the students who happen to have parents who can provide planning from the knowledge of their own college experience know what to do.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!