Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CPE college readiness reporting

In the Council on Postsecondary Education's 2007-08 Accountability Report, I spot four arrows point upward for improvement on college readiness and none pointing down. CPE looks to average ACTs, AP passing tests per 100 juniors and seniors, developmental course needs (shown above as it appears in the report), and GED completions. Teacher quality is also on their list, but the indicator "is under revision by CPE.

In classic form, we have progress, but not enough progress in these results. The AP and GED improvements fell short of CPE targets. ACT and developmental needs don't currently have targets, which the notes attribute to the pending implementation of new systemwide standards.


  1. Susan,

    You have another link problem. It does not take us to the report, but only to the home page for the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE). I tried to search for the report using the search function on that home page, but it looks like the 2007-08 report isn’t out, yet.

    Anyway, I got the same numbers you graphed directly from the CPE as of April 1st and posted them in the Bluegrasspolicy-blog on April 3rd (http://bluegrasspolicy-blog.blogspot.com/2009/04/more-strong-evidence-senate-bill-1-was.html).

    Let’s talk about what “not enough progress” really means.

    First, consider what happens if the CPE keeps its current, very low ACT score thresholds of a score below 18 for determining which students need remediation (except for English, the current CPE threshold scores are far below the Benchmark Scores from the ACT that indicate adequate preparation for an average American college).

    The big problem is in math. There has been a scant, one percent improvement in the remediation rate from 2002 to 2006, a period spanning four years. That is an average improvement rate of only 0.25 points per year. At this rate, it will take another 136 years to eliminate the remediation requirements in math in Kentucky. It will take almost a century just to lower the rate to 10 percent, a figure many will argue is still too high.

    Things look somewhat better in reading, where we improved our remediation rate by three percent in four years. That is an annual rate of improvement of 0.75 points per year. That projects to another 29 years to eliminate the remedial requirement in this very critical subject at the current rate of progress.

    We look better in English, where we are improving at a rate of 1.25 points per year. At that rate, we could eliminate the remedial requirements in our colleges in this subject around 22 years down the road.

    To be blunt, I don’t think the competition from places like India and China will give us that long, and sacrificing two more generations of our kids to under preparation is simply unacceptable.

    And the real situation is even worse. The CPE has announced a future increase in the ACT score threshold for remedial requirements. Thus, all the estimated times above need to be increased to properly predict the future.

    So, thank goodness for Senate Bill 1, which will hopefully lead to our refocusing our schools on what our students really will need in the future. Clearly, our progress under the existing system isn’t anywhere close to what our kids and the commonwealth need.

  2. No state will ever get 100% of students over that mathematics benchmark.

    The ACT test builders select questions based on evidence that significant numbers of students will get them wrong. The ACT business model requires that. Their test separates students out across the range of scores because that's what college admissions work requires.

    We can, should, and will make substantial improvements in math performance.

    We will not succeed in eliminating low scores on a test that is designed to identify some students as low-scoring.

    The ACT test designers know it, and I suspect the ACT sales people know it, too.

    (To download the report, click on the picture of it on the right side of the CPE home page.)


Updates and data on Kentucky education!