While Kansas high school students perform slightly better than the nation, only 26 percent of Kansas students that take the ACT test are ready for college-level coursework in all four areas that ACT considers.
This is according to the report Measuring College and Career Readiness: The Class of 2009. The four areas that the test looks at in measuring readiness for college-level coursework are English, math, reading, and science. For the nation as a whole, 23 percent are ready for college-level coursework.
The report also shows that for the period 2005 to 2009, Kansas ACT scores are up a small amount. For the most recent years, scores are down very slightly. The Kansas scores are slightly higher than the scores for the entire nation, and have mirrored the national trend.
When students are not ready for college-level coursework, it means they have to take remedial courses in college. This creates additional expense for both students and taxpayers as students take classes to learn what they should have learned in high school.
These findings are in contrast to an recent Wichita Eagle op-ed written by Wichita-area public school district superintendents. That piece argues against cutting school funding, stating “The value that Kansas taxpayers are receiving from their K-12 public education system has never been better.”
The school spending lobby — these superintendents are part of that — argue that rapidly rising student achievement scores are evidence that increased spending on schools has produced results. Their argument is based on assessments given by the state. These Kansas test scores, however, can’t be trusted as credible. Every test that is not controlled by the State of Kansas shows student achievement largely unchanged.
Students not prepared for college? This has been an issue for years. My children graduated from 259 schools 10 years ago, and plenty of their peers were required to take remedial courses–especially math– when they entered college. As federal claws have increasingly grabbed control over K-12 education in this country, the quality of that education has suffered. The answers to this problem are simple, but terribly unpopular with the education establishment and the politicians to whom they funnel their money.
The writing skills of university students are low. They have little or no knowledge of history and civics. Grades that university students receive today mean nothing because there has been grade inflation. If you would examine the schedules of students, you will find that they “pad” their schedules with several easy courses along with one that might be demanding of them. It can be called “Gresham’s law of education,” which is a take-off on “Gresham’s law of economics” or when the bad money drives out the good money. So it is with education: We have the bad driving out the good or what is valuable and important to have in education.