ACT scores stagnant for Class of 2015

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

ACT scores stagnant for Class of 2015.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s ACT scores were flat last year, although a few more Magnolia State students are ready for college by the standards of the test. State Superintendent Tony Evers says college-bound students “did a fine job.” But the results found achievement gaps persist between students of color and their white peers.But Florida’s scores lagged the nation’s, and ACT officials said scores nationally should be a “wake-up call” that too many students leave high school ill prepared for college.Average ACT scores for the Class of 2015 barely budged in English, math, reading and science, while writing scores in Illinois and the nation dipped to the lowest in a decade, suggesting that many graduates may have a tough time with college-level writing assignments.NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Louisiana still ranks below the national average – and near the bottom among all states – in average composite scores for students taking the ACT college readiness test.

The college entrance exam results released Wednesday reveal a troubling national portrait of students who aren’t fully prepared for higher education, despite changes across the country in standards, curriculum, instruction and testing meant to improve performance. And the state education department said the state’s improvement from 19.2 to a 19.4 composite score is the most progress made by any of the 13 states that require all students to take the test. Research from the testing company suggests that students who don’t meet the benchmarks are likely to struggle in first-year core courses at two- and four-year colleges. The five states with the best ACT scores, along with the percentage of students tested: Connecticut, 24.4 average composite score, 32%; Massachusetts, 24.4, 28%; New Hampshire, 24.3, 23%; Maine, 24.2, 10%; New York, 23.7, 28%.

Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina, which had 100 percent participation in ACT testing, and Hawaii, which had 93 percent participation, had lower scores than Louisiana in the figures released early Wednesday. In Illinois, high school juniors for years have taken the ACT for free at school, and those results get melded into the following year’s graduating class scores.

Judy Pritchett, chief academic officer for the Macomb Intermediate School District, said the ACT results are just one piece of data schools look at to evaluate their curriculum. But it can have big consequences for students. “It is a door opener for some kids, either to get into college or more importantly to qualify for some kind of financial assistance,” Pritchett said. Just 15 percent of black students and 23 percent of Hispanics met the college readiness benchmarks in three or more subjects, while 58 percent of whites achieved that distinction. Universities and colleges often use those scores in making college admission decisions. “For the tenth straight year, Minnesota students are number one in the nation on this important exam,” Gov.

Connecticut and Massachusetts scored the highest, with a composite of 24.4, though less than a third of their graduates took the ACT — most students in those states take the rival SAT exam. In July, the state released data showing that the number of public high school seniors who scored well enough on the ACT to enter college without remedial work continues to grow: 24,619 students earned an ACT score of 18 or higher.

That’s a boost of 959 students from 2014 and of 6,312 students from 2012, according to data released by the department. “Our numbers for mathematics have remained low, especially for African-American students when compared nationally,” White said. “And this really argues for continuing to have high standards in math and continuing to have high levels of access to challenging college-track course work as early as possible for our students.” The stagnant results “further demonstrate the need to end the nation’s failed experiment with test-driven education,” said Bob Schaeffer, public education director at the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest). Some northeastern states with high average scores have relatively few students take the ACT because the SAT is the dominant college test in that region. The writing test is a less-noticed part of the ACT exam, but it is significant as education reforms stress that students be able to analyze material from a variety of sources and write analytically — skills needed for college work or a memo to one’s boss.

Steve Zemelman, director of the Illinois Writing Project, which trains teachers, said educators need more training and students need more instruction in writing. When it comes to writing, “I think there are a lot of teachers who are teaching it in a very mechanical way,” Zemelman said, rather than using narrative, storytelling and other techniques.

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