The report from the first ever 100 percent testing of all Kentucky public school 11th graders on the ACT college entrance test is out, and I am just starting to look at the data. Here are some quick observations:
According to the Kentucky Department of Education’s news release and information from Colorado and Michigan, where 100 percent testing is also conducted, here is a quick rundown of Composite scores for 2008:
Kentucky – 18.3
Colorado – 20.2
Michigan – 18.8
Keep in mind that Colorado has conducted 100 percent ACT testing since 2001, and the impact of that long-term effort is obvious in this comparison.
However, Michigan just started to do 100 percent testing last year. They still score notably above us even though they have a huge population in Detroit with very high poverty who took this test.
In fact, Michigan outscored us in every area on the ACT, English, math, reading and science.
Hopefully, the message in the data above is that as our teachers get more familiar with what our students really need to be prepared for college and life, our scores will rise. Michigan is certainly within “catching” distance, though it will be some time before we are likely to best Colorado. By the way, Colorado also tests its learning disabled students in this program, just like Kentucky did, so the comparison appears to be a fair one.
Kentucky also scored well below the ACT “Benchmark” scores that provide reasonable odds of success in college. Here is a subject by subject rundown of scores and the ACT Benchmark
English – 17.3 /Benchmark – 18
Math – 18.1 /Benchmark – 22
Reading – 18.5 /Benchmark – 21
Science – 18.7 /Benchmark – 24
Clearly, our schools are performing far below where they need to be. Keep in mind that if our scores just met the benchmarks that only one out of two 11th graders would be on track to succeed in college. At present, far lower numbers of our students are getting an adequate preparation. Since about 60 percent of our students now go on to higher education, this is a very serious issue. Many of those students seeking higher education are going to need expensive remediation courses if they are to succeed.
I also did a quick sort for the top and bottom performing schools and districts in Kentucky. Here is how that looks:
Top Schools and Composite Score
Dupont Manual High School, Jefferson County – 24.8
Beechwood High School, Beechwood Independent – 23.5
North Oldham High School, Oldham County – 22.7
Bottom Schools and Composite Score
Shawnee High School Magnet Career Academy, Jefferson County – 14.7
Iroquois High School Magnet Career Academy, Jefferson County – 14.6
Western MST Magnet High School, Jefferson County – 13.8
It is ironic that the very best and very worst schools are in Jefferson County, and all are all billed as “magnet” schools. These “magnets” have very different “polarities” when it comes to academic performance.
Finally, here are the top and bottom performing school districts
Top Districts and Composite Scores
Beechwood Independent – 23.5
Fort Thomas Independent – 22.1
Oldham County – 21.2
Bottom Districts and Composite Scores
Monticello Independent – 16.2
Wolfe County – 16.0
McCreary County – 15.8
Find detailed information about how your school performed in these links.