Monday, August 10, 2009

ACT results and non-results

Results are out from last year's ACT testing of all eleventh graders.

English results include:
  • 17.3 was the average score, unchanged from last year.
  • 46 percent scored 18 or higher, meeting ACT's benchmark for college readiness and CPE's systemwide standard to enroll in credit-bearing courses without developmental work--also unchanged from last year.
Mathematics results include:
  • an 18.2 average score, up from 18.1 last year.
  • 21 percent scored 22 or higher, meeting ACT's benchmark, up from 20 percent last year.
  • 34 percent scored 19 or higher, meeting CPE's standard for credit-bearing work, unchanged from last year.
Reading results include:
  • an 18.5 average score, down from 18.4 last year.
  • 30 percent scored 21 or higher, meeting ACT's benchmark, down from 33 percent last year.
  • 38 percent scored 20 or higher, meeting CPE's standard for credit-bearing work, down from 41 percent last year.
Science results include:
  • An 18.7 average score, down from 18.5 last year.
  • 16 percent scored 24 or higher, meeting ACT's benchmark, up from 15 percent last year.
  • (CPE has not set a science standard.)
In short, there's no gain at all, no pay off, none at all, from requiring ACT and requiring the related Plan test a year earlier for the same students. Further, either the mandated added help for students who were weak on Plan isn't happening, or it isn't working.

Mind, I do not expect to see all Kentucky juniors score meet any of those college benchmarks. There are no examples, anywhere, of any state ever getting anywhere close to that, even for college-bound seniors.

Still, I am confident that our students could do significantly better with consistent, standards-based, data-informed, high-quality instruction than they did this year.

So the big question remains: what are our strategies to build stronger teaching quality?

1 comment:

  1. Susan, I can testify that the mandated added help for students who were weak on Plan isn't happening. And it never comes up in conversation with parents, at least in Jefferson County.

    Furthermore, in the C-J, Bob Rodosky is quoted “If you're ready for college, why would you need your senior year?”

    The problem is that for kids going to college, senior year data is irrelevent. College and scholarship applications are due in Nov, Dec, and early January of the Sr. year, so you already need your best ACT score by the early part of the first semester of your senior year. The GPA that you have to use for these applications is your cumulative GPA as of your Jr. year, you won't even get your 1st semester Sr. grades until it's too late. And if you happen to have an ice storm that shuts down school for two weeks you're really screwed because you have no hope of getting Sr. grades in time for anything.

    These ACT results show a need for students to be taking more rigorous classes staring in 6th grade, and a need for schools to be using the results of the Explore and Plan to actually help students be ready their Jr. year to take the ACT. One thing is for sure, going to college is not about Sr. year! Sr. Year is the cream on the top, not the substance that gets you into college.


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