The posting last week mentioned that about two thirds of high school graduates are ready to succeed in college. An article in the Denver Post indicates that the most recent results show many fewer are ready for college. “In its annual score report…the testing company said only 38 percent of graduating seniors who took the exam hit the college-prepared benchmark in at least four core subjects tested—reading, English, math, and science. That compares with 40 percent last year.” The composite score also declined from 21 to 20.8 (on a scale of 1 to 36). Only 64% of the 2016 graduates took the test, and one would have to guess that the many if not most of the students who weren’t interested in taking the test wouldn’t have improved the results.
For some of the individual test results, 61 percent met the English benchmark, 44 percent reading, 41 percent math, and 36 percent science. The composite result is that 34 percent did not meet any of the four benchmarks. The comparisons by race have not shifted that much from previous years, but they are still depressing. Only 11 percent of African-Americans were able to hit the college-ready benchmarks in three or more of the subjects. There were 23 percent of Hispanic test-takers who achieved college-level in three or more compared to 49 percent of whites.
Should we consider the Chinese model where achievement is the basis for admission and promotion in education? Perhaps only students “graduating” from the eighth grade who test at a certain level should be promoted to high school while the others are given the opportunity to attend trade schools. (An educator friend says this is a really bad idea.) What we are doing now, which costs an enormous amount of money, doesn’t seem to be preparing children for a productive role in society. We are instead encouraging youngsters who aren’t prepared for college to incur enormous amounts of debt to enjoy the college experience.