Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Readiness Trends (Added Detail!)

In recent years, Kentucky has expanded the evidence we use to show that Kentucky students are ready for college, career, or both, and this post shows some of the details of how that expansion has worked. First, a graph to show what's changed:

 Next, some background about the parts of the graph:
  • For 2010, the graph shows the total percent of public high school graduates who met all three ACT readiness benchmarks (English, mathematics, and reading) set by the Council on Postsecondary Education. It combines the students who met those benchmarks while participating in the statewide required 11th grade administration of the test and those who retook the test and reached the benchmarks at a later date.
  • Starting in 2011, students who reached the benchmarks on the 11th grade statewide administration are shown separately from those who reached the benchmarks later on.
  • Starting in 2012, student success on Compass and KYOTE placement tests, used by universities and KCTCS to assign students to courses, can also be seen. More exactly, students who have not met all three ACT benchmarks can be counted as college ready based on scores from Compass, KYOTE, a combination of subject scores from both tests, or a combination of scores from those two tests and ACT.  
  • Also starting in 2012, career ready students are included. For career readiness, students must reach required scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) or ACT WorkKeys to show academic readiness, and they must also meet needed scores on a Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment (KOSSA) or earn an industrial certificate to show technical readiness.
The newest results, adding up to 62% of 2014 graduates being counted as ready for college and career, provide the most complete information. The 2014 information includes data from all the assessments Kentucky recognizes as showing readiness. 2014 also reflects an culture in which schools encourage students to prepare for and take additional assessments, especially if their early ACT scores show that they need to improve.

In contrast, the 2010 results are clearly incomplete. The 30% shown as ready reflect only the ACT results. We know that some Kentucky students took each of the other assessments in those years, but their results are not included. Plus, schools had less incentive then to encourage students to try the other ways of demonstrating readiness, so some students may have been ready but not taken any test to make that easy to see.

And, of course, none of the results are superb indicators of the full results we really want for our students. The available assessments can't track students' capacity for sustained work, like using reading skills to research a problem and writing skills to explain a possible solution or taking on a real-world challenge and applying their mathematics skills to wrestle their way to a sound response. They also give very little indication of students' perseverance, teamwork, and other capacities that we know matter deeply for college and career success.

Still, the available information clearly shows Kentucky students as increasingly able to show their readiness as measured by the available assessments, and the same information makes it clear that we have plenty more work to do to make sure every student is equipped for adult success.

Source note: the graph above combines several slides from a December presentation given by the Office of Education Accountability.  See below for the way OEA displayed the same results.


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Updates and data on Kentucky education!