In a growing story, the ACT, Inc. has told the Herald-Leader that it will now outlaw use of calculators augmented with algebra software on the COMPASS college-readiness test. This provides further evidence of an assertion from Northern Kentucky University professor Steve Newman that the use of such calculators was inflating student scores.
The new move could have impacts on Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning school accountability system because success on COMPASS was one way a student could demonstrate College and Career Readiness (CCR). CCR rates rose rapidly in Kentucky over the past few years, but the rise is not due to notably better performance on the ACT college entrance test, which is another way students can show they are College and Career Ready.
It would be interesting for the Kentucky Department of Education to do a quick study to see how much of the CCR rate increase was due to COMPASS test results. That might give us a bit better understanding of how the CCR rate has really progressed. This data might actually be helpful to the department if the CCR rate falls this year due to the new testing restriction. Kentucky Board of Education, are you listening?