Some interesting comments were made in yesterday’s Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee meeting in Frankfort.
Dr. Wayne Andrews, the president of Morehead State University, discussed the inadequate preparation of many Morehead freshmen. He said about 40 percent of each new class requires remediation in at least one subject, usually math.
To combat this problem, Morehead started a cooperative program with public schools called the College Algebra Program. What is particularly interesting is the way Morehead measures the success of students that complete it. Morehead isn’t using the state’s CATS for this. Instead, they use the ACT college entrance test.
Other comments came from Tim Bobrowski, principal of Sebastian Middle School in Breathitt County. Bobrowski is very favorably impressed with the EXPLORE test, also created by ACT, Incorporated. He pointed out that EXPLORE shows kids where they stand in eighth grade, soon enough to give students a chance to repair some of their deficiencies.
Why is this interesting? During and after the debate on Senate Bill 1 from this year’s regular session, a rather concerted attack on these ACT created tests was launched by a group the Paducah Sun has dubbed the “KERA Amen Chorus.” The misguided crowd in the “Chorus” issued several papers attacking the validity of the ACT’s tests for eighth and tenth graders while taking swipes at the ACT college entrance test, as well. Among other things, it looks like the “Chorus” covets the money spent on these ACT tests and would prefer us to dump all of that cash into their beloved, though already bloated, CATS assessments, instead.
What was reiterated yesterday is that many don’t sing along with the “Chorus.” At least one practicing public school educator does not agree. At least one college in the state knows where to go when it needs to evaluate math preparation for college, as well, and that isn’t to the state’s home-grown CATS assessment, either. And, since school principals and college presidents are on the leading edge of dealing with the real issues in KERA, we probably need to give those folks more credence in preference to a group of ideologues who just seem to be singing off-tune.