The Kentucky Department of Education’s Briefing Packet for the 2018-19 assessment and accountability program has some interesting tables summarizing the statewide ACT results for each year’s class of 11th grade students. Data for the past five years, including the new 2018-19 data, is presented. Let’s look at those tables.
Table A shows the ACT score results for all 11th grade students in Kentucky public schools for the listed year. ACT is scored on a 36-point scale.
The latest scores don’t tell a pretty story. In every subject tested and for the overall composite scores as well, the latest 2018-19 scores are the lowest recorded in the past five years. Still worse, the trend of decay started two years ago and has gone steadily downward since.
The next table is of even more importance to Kentucky’s parents. This one shows the percentage of each 11th grade class that scored at or above the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s (CPE) Benchmark scores for English, math and reading. Scoring at or above those CPE Benchmark Scores allows students to avoid taking expensive remedial courses in college.
This is a different statistic from the overall score averages, by the way, and the trends are a bit different, at least for English, where there was some down and up between 2014-15 and 2016-17 that doesn’t appear in the overall score trends in Table A.
Never the less, the new, 2018-19 CPE Benchmark percentages are the lowest recorded during the past five years. Since more than half of the state’s graduates now go on to postsecondary education, this means that more students and their parents will be faced with the costs and delays of remedial college courses in the CPE system.
As was the case with the ACT scores, the declines in the CPE Benchmark performances also started after 2016-17 and has been steadily decaying since.
What explains the decay? Anyone have any ideas?