Monday, September 19, 2016

The State: ACT scores expose state’s unwillingness to act | the becoming radical

The State: ACT scores expose state’s unwillingness to act | the becoming radical:

The State: ACT scores expose state’s unwillingness to act

Image result for ACT scores


[original submission posted below before edits]
Education reform in South Carolina suffers from a tragic lack of imagination: New standards and new tests, but the outcomes remain disappointing.
Now, recently released ACT scores serve as the newest reason to panic. As reported in The State: “The latest scores from the ACT college entrance exam suggest that many of this year’s high school graduates aren’t ready for college-level course work.”
SC’s data are troubling: 14% of test-takers not ready for college and the race gap even more alarming (2% of black students met standard on the four sections of the ACT).
SC also appears to compare poorly to the other 20 states requiring all students to take the ACT—notably Tennessee has a similar poverty rate as SC but a higher average ACT score.
However, I urge caution about interpreting ACT scores from one year of data since SC has recently adopted Common Core standards and tests, dropped Common Core, adopted yet new standards, and then chosen the ACT for annual testing.
Thus, my concerns about shouting that the sky is falling based on the new ACT scores include the following:
  • Scores are depressed due to standards shuffling across the state over the past 3-4 years.
  • ACT tests, like all standardized tests, remain more strongly correlated with race, social class, and gender than the quality of the schools or teachers.
  • One year of data when a new test is adopted is inadequate for drawing hard conclusions.
ACT results are nothing new since SC has a long history of having low, if not the lowest, test scores in the U.S. (notably our residency in the basement of the discredited practice of journalists ranking states by SAT scores), but the most important lesson from this data is that SC has yet to address the equity gap in the lives and education of vulnerable children.
To persist with labels such as the “achievement gap” is to keep our eyes on the outcomes while ignoring the The State: ACT scores expose state’s unwillingness to act | the becoming radical:


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