Jumping on a report before reading it (Revised)

Chatter on social media started up several days ago from several Kentucky educators about a LEX18.com news report that Kentucky’s education system had been ranked by a group called WalletHub as the 5th best in the nation.

Based on the tweets starting on July 28th linking to the LEX18 article, I initially thought the WalletHub report was for 2017, but I could not find it online on July 28th.

Things got more confused when WalletHub actually issued its 2017 report just a few days later on July 31. The 2017 report indicated Kentucky only ranked 27th. So, I called LEX18 to find out what was going on. The person I contacted there was not able to explain the difference between the figures for Kentucky in the LEX18 report and the 2017 WalletHub report.

Yesterday I determined that LEX18.com’s article was from July 28, 2015 and apparently covered another WalletHub report from two years ago.

In any event, WalletHub’s 2017 report does not rank Kentucky in 5th place. We are listed in the 27th slot for our total score. That is quite a drop from 5th place just two years ago although it must be considered that WalletHub uses more metrics in its 2017 report.

By the way, despite the previous mystery, one solid outcome from all of this is there clearly are no problems with the security of WalletHub’s e-mails. So, that issue can be put to bed.

Is this good??? ‘Hanover College is latest to not require SAT, ACT’

The Courier-Journal echoes a report from its sister paper, the Indianapolis Star, that another college in this country will no longer require applicants to take either the ACT or SAT college entrance tests. According to the article:

“Hanover College in Southern Indiana will join nearly 1,000 public and private accredited institutions across the nation that have opted for a ‘test optional’ or ‘test flexible’ admissions policy.”

While this will probably reduce student anxiety in a teen population that increasingly seems stressed (think suicides, for example), are there possible shortcomings in colleges dropping such testing from their admissions policies?

We at BIPPS think there are some problems, and we have information to back up our concerns.

[Read more…]

Was the SAT ‘dumbed down?’

After finishing up on the Common Core State Standards project, a key writer of those standards moved on to take over the College Board, which creates the SAT college entrance test.

Critics of Common Core were quick to charge that the SAT would become watered down.

A new SAT was indeed created and came into use in March 2016.

So, were the Common Core critics right? Maybe so.

WKU Public Radio reports:

“The College Board, the group that administers the SAT, has redesigned the test. Due to the changes, the new minimum score for acceptance at WKU is a 1020. The accepted score on the old test was a 940.”

The article continues:

“The new required score will apply to students who took the SAT after March 1 of this year. The old score will continue to be accepted if students took the SAT prior to March 1.”

Complicating all of this are some comments I’ve heard that the entire scoring scale for the SAT was revised. It will be interesting to see if there has been a sudden rise in the proportion of students scoring higher on the new SAT, something I have not seen discussed, so far.

In any event, WKU certainly doesn’t think an old SAT score is the same as one from the new SAT, and that is a fact.

Hear Dick Innes’ comments with 55KRC show host Brian Thomas

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:

Vector A.R.C. stories

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.

Innes talks new college entrance test with 55KRC’s Brian Thomas on Thursday

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.

Homeschoolers and others could soon have alternative to Common Core aligned college entrance tests

Vector A.R.C. (Assessment of Readiness for College) is looking for volunteers to participate in Beta testing of its new Vector A.R.C. college readiness test. This will happen during the Great Home School Convention – Midwest coming up during March 31–April 2, 2016. The convention will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Vector A.R.C.’s web materials say its college entrance exam is independent of any copyrighted standards (Which includes the copyrighted Common Core State Standards). The test is targeted at allowing students who use curriculum products other than those based on Common Core to have a fair and equal opportunity to compete for college admissions. Because both the ACT and SAT now claim Common Core alignment, the creation of an alternative test should be of special interest to parents of students in many school choice programs.

Per Vector A.R.C., “Whether a child was educated in a homeschool, private, or public school setting the new Vector ARC must measure each one’s abilities accurately, in order for real choice to exist.” So, for its Beta Test, Vector A.R.C. is looking for at least 1000 student volunteers to participate. Any students with current SAT, ACT, or PSAT scores are invited.

Here is a link to the web site where students with ACT or SAT or PSAT scores can sign up to take this Beta test product.

This web site has more information about the homeschool convention in general.

How’s That? Business starting to request SAT scores???

It looks like the message about dumbed down high school diplomas and watered down college degrees is sinking in to an important part of our society – business and industry!

The “College” web site reports that while the practice is not yet widespread, a number of major employers are now requiring SAT scores as part of their application process.

The SAT is possibly not a very accurate determination of real employee potential, but when educators water down their standards, businessmen will react, and are in fact reacting!

Another crack in the Common Core State Standards programs?

Report:

The College Board, which operates the SAT college admissions test, says it is delaying implementation of new tests until 2016.

The new head of the College board says people in the field asked for more time, but the article says:

“Jed Applerouth, founder of a national test-prep service, said he was scratching his head at the statement that the College Board was delaying the revised SAT because of demand for a slower change. He said that in his discussions with high school counselors and college admissions officials, he wasn’t hearing anyone push for delay.”

Could it be that the SAT folks are worried about increasing competition from the ACT?

Or, could it really be that the SAT folks are having second thoughts about realignment of their test, which is supposed to bring it into agreement with the Common Core State Standards?