The producer from the Brian Thomas show provided us a recording of Dick’s interview yesterday about a new college entrance test called the Vector A.R.C. test, and here it is:
Regular readers know from an earlier blog that there was a beta test administration of the new Vector A.R.C. college entrance test during the recent home school conference in Cincinnati.
Now, Julie West at Vector A.R.C. shares reactions of some of the students who took the test. To put it mildly, there is a lot of insight present in these students’ responses. Keep in mind, all of these students have taken either the SAT or ACT as well as the Vector A.R.C. test.
Here are those stories.
“One 17 year old said – For the first time, I felt like I was taking a test that actually cared about what I know instead of playing some bizarre game cleverly disguised as a test, where I know (they are) after something but it has nothing to do with the questions they’re asking.”
“Another student smiled when he got to the ELA portion. He took the test off the table, leaned back in his chair and smiled as if reading for pleasure. Later, he commented on how much he appreciated having the time to really read and appreciate the passages, rather than simply rushing to get answers.”
“One of the last students in the room commented how much he appreciated the other students being permitted to leave when finished. He described how much he hates sitting there knowing everyone else is waiting on him to finish. It’s interesting to note the students finishing last are almost always high achieving, meticulous students.”
This last one is especially interesting. It refers to students taking another assessment rather than Vector A.R.C. because the new assessment is multiple-choice only.
“After testing, two sisters recounted how hard one sister who was apparently jaded by the extended response portion of another assessment literally wrote “Blah, blah blah blah blah blah…” and not another word. She did punctuate and capitalize her passage. That sister received a higher score than her sibling who actually tried and by all accounts is actually a very good student and writer.”
This comment doesn’t say anything very nice about the scoring accuracy of the open response part of this other test (sorry, I was not told which assessment was involved).
In any event, I am told that students like the untimed, multiple-choice Vector A.R.C. Once the beta testing is done and the test goes operational, we’ll see how well colleges agree.
Vector A.R.C. continues beta testing at other sites around the country such as homeschool conventions. West informs me that even a single school can set up a beta testing opportunity if enough students will participate, and she will be happy to talk to any schools or similar organizations that are interested.
If you don’t believe satirical journalist P.J. O’Rourke’s quip that “giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys,” pay attention to what’s happening in Frankfort and Washington.
Better yet, try taking some of that money away or at least making politicians more accountable for how they spend it.
Be prepared for the incessant whining and excuse-making sure to follow your demand that they live within their current means, work harder, pay debts, prioritize spending and save for rainy days – just like responsible Kentucky families must do.
For years, fiscally sane Kentuckians have been astonished by the absolute defiance on display in Frankfort toward the right spending decisions or even just some restraint, especially in challenging times.
They must really be amazed at the approach taken regarding the new budget by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat, who moonlights as an ambulance chaser for a personal injury law firm marketing itself as “ForThePeople.com.”
Stumbo’s been willing, for example, to hold up the commonwealth’s entire budget in order to force inclusion of free community college tuition for all Kentucky high-school graduates, despite the fact that more monies must be found to address the nation’s worst – and further worsening – public-retirement system.
Reasonable Kentuckians must also be amazed that as this column is released, the legislative session is in its final throes and still no budget’s been passed.
Lawmakers have found time to file some 940 other bills, including legislation requiring men to be married and receive approval from their wives before using Viagra and banning teens under the age of 18 from using tanning beds.
Yet the Speaker, as head of the majority party in the state House, has utterly failed to provide the leadership required to get House Bill 303 – the budget – passed and thus fulfill the House’s singular constitutional duty.
Even if some kind of spending plan gets approved by the time you read this, the process remains a frustrating failure and needs an overhaul built around accountability and transparency.
The Frankfort press corps – eager for drama and pitting sides against each other while being inexperienced at covering a conservative, decisive governor – drives a narrative that presents all spending plans as equal.
Plus, statehouse reporters frequently, if unwittingly, cover these final budget spasms in ways that portray political leaders sympathetically as really working hard “for the people,” willing even to eat take-out and burn the midnight oil in order to meet the constitutionally determined April 15 deadline for making final decisions about how to spend the $22 billion we taxpayers will be forced to give them during the next biennium.
Puh-leeze. They’ve had months to get this work done and have failed.
Gov. Matt Bevin, despite being brand new to the process and having just won an election weeks earlier, met his constitutional responsibility to present the executive branch’s budget proposal during the General Assembly’s opening days.
Bevin’s two-year spending plan calls for 9 percent cuts to most state-government agencies and programs, including universities.
Stumbo distorts the governor’s intentions, claiming Bevin wants to harm education simply because he challenged university presidents to find inefficiencies and tighten their collective belts as several already have. Controlling spending is absolutely necessary if our commonwealth is to start down the long road toward saving our public-pension funds and tucking money away to address future pension needs so we don’t repeat our retirement systems’ messy history.
Stumbo’s garbling is like big-spending politicians in Washington labeling Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul “weak on national defense” because he wants the military to quit spending $640 for new toilet seats and put the money toward paying down the national debt.
Such demagoguery – whether during a debate about national defense in Washington or an austere budget in Frankfort – is many things: a time-buster, resource-waster and confidence-diminisher.
“For the people” it’s not.
Bluegrass Institute staff education analyst Richard Innes will talk about the new Vector A.R.C. college entrance test with 55KRC talk show host Brian Thomas at 8:05 am Eastern Daylight Time tomorrow.
The Vector A.R.C. (Assessment of Readiness for College) is a new test intended as an alternative for the SAT and the ACT. Both of those college entrance tests have been generating a lot of concern among parents due to their reported alignment to the Common Core State Standards and additional issues regarding sharing of student data that both assessments collect.
Innes and Thomas will be talking about those issues on Thursday, April 14, 2016, and sharing quotes from some students who recently took the Vector A.R.C. in Cincinnati, as well.
If you are in the 55KRC listening area near Cincinnati, you can tune in at 550 AM.
WKRC also webcasts the show, so anyone with Internet access can access the show here.
55KRC is an iHeartRadio station and should be accessible with app-enabled cell phones, too.
Testimony offered to Senate Health and Welfare Committee opposing legislative approval of Kynect and Medicaid expansion
The following is an edited presentation of testimony offered by Bluegrass Institute CEO Jim Waters to the Kentucky Senate Health and Welfare Committee on April 11, 2016, in Frankfort.
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I’m Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions at bipps.org. The Bluegrass Institute is a free-market think tank focused on offering common sense, economically sound solutions to Kentucky’s greatest challenges.
Certainly one of the great challenges faced by too many of our fellow Kentuckians is finding affordable health insurance that provides an acceptable quality of care. Yet while the intention of government programs – and of most policymakers who vote for them – is to help the less fortunate, they often end up not only falling far short of fulfilling those intentions, but actually harming the very constituency they are meant to assist.
When former Gov. Steve Beshear established the state-based exchange Kynect by executive order in 2013, his administration projected the online insurance marketplace would provide 332,000 uninsured Kentuckians with access to affordable coverage. Yet fewer than a third of that anticipated number actually ever obtained coverage through the state-based exchange.
Seventy-five percent of those who signed up for plans on the exchange are being forced to find a new insurer as the Kentucky Health Cooperative, the exchange’s largest insurer, is closing down after losing $50 million last year – the most of any of the 22 Obamacare-subsidized cooperatives nationwide.
Even if the co-op would have remained open, its request to raise premiums by 25 percent during this past year – had they remained opened – combined with the previous year’s 20 percent in rate hikes would no doubt have exacerbated the situation reported by a recent study by Families USA study showing that high-deductible plans purchased though the state exchanges have resulted in one in four of those customers skipping doctor’s appointments and important medical tests.
To begin, the Bluegrass Institute has always been a fan of the AdvanceKentucky program to get more Kentucky kids into and successful with Advanced Placement courses. Over the past half-decade the total number of successful AP students earning college creditable scores of 3 to 5 on the AP exams has risen notably in Kentucky. Most of the increase is due to the AdvanceKentucky program.
Still, when I looked through a briefing on the 2016 status of the AdvanceKentucky program, I was very concerned by the two slides shown below.
The first slide shows the percent of students eligible for the federal free and reduced cost school lunch program who went on to college in Kentucky. AdvanceKentucky shows there has been a decline in the percentage of our state’s lunch eligible students who went to college regardless of whether or not the students took part in the AdvanceKentucky program. This clearly is not a good trend.
The second slide shows the same thing happened to the state’s racial minority children.
These are very serious developments and add still more impetus to the Bluegrass Institute’s contention that Kentucky’s current public education system is not really serving disadvantaged children well.
Sharp readers will note that the data only cover graduates up to 2012. I am not sure why this AdvanceKentucky information is somewhat dated, but I am looking at more recent data on college going that was just released by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics, so stay tuned.