Sunday, June 27, 2010

29,000 high school seniors in math remediation?

Friend-of-the-blog Cindy Baumert just encouraged me to take a look at the proposed revisions to Kentucky's graduation regulation, scheduled for a public hearing on July 28.  Don't miss the new provision that:
If students do not meet the college readiness benchmarks for mathematics as established by the Council on Postsecondary Education, ... a mathematics transitional course or intervention which shall be monitored to address remediation needs shall be required before exiting high school. [Emphasis added.]
In past law, that support has been offered to students rather than required. Thus, KRS 158.6459(2) specifies that:
A high school student whose score on the ACT examination ... in English, reading, or mathematics is below the systemwide standard established by the Council on Postsecondary Education for entry into a credit-bearing course at a public postsecondary institution without placement in a remedial course or an entry-level course with supplementary academic support shall be provided the opportunity to participate in accelerated learning designed to address his or her identified academic deficiencies prior to high school graduation. [Emphasis added.]
How big an impact will the mandate have?  Well, in the spring of 2009, when Kentucky tested 43,511 juniors, it found:
  • 23,713 students scoring below CPE's English benchmark of 18.
  • 28,822 students scoring below CPE's mathematics benchmark of 19.
  • 27,024 students scoring below CPE's reading benchmark of 20.
Those results are not (repeat, not) out of line with ACT's national norm sample results for high school seniors, shown in the ACT Technical Manual.

They are, however, a reminder that Kentucky, like the nation as a whole, needs to raise student achievement substantially.

Most of all, they are an indication that this amended regulation will demand a truly huge effort from our high schools, starting almost immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Susan is correct in saying that the number of Kentucky students not meeting ACT College Readiness benchmarks is consistent with national trends is true given the fact that the ACT is a norm-referenced test. Its design, unlike a criterion-referenced test, is for approximately 50% of students to fall above the mean and 50% to fall below the mean. There are real problems with using norm-referenced tests as a graduation requirement and school accountability measure.


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