Courtesy of NPR News:
I promised I wouldn't be a downer. I am excited about the new school year. I really am. Yet, as I get set to teach another batch of college freshmen how to write and think in more complex ways, this piece makes me wonder. What blend of students will I get this time? As a teacher (not a sub), I refuse to react negatively to students coming my way--I haven't even met them. Still, I've learned there are a lot of reasons a high percentage typically isn't ready to completely engage in my course. My gut tells me that lack of success in high school is something, among other potential issues, people have to "get over" in order to throw themselves into the sometimes messy process of learning. Some haven't gotten over it yet. Some are sick of school and teachers for other reasons. Some are simply distracted or without direction. This last reason has been a big one.
On one level, I have to react as a reader to this not terribly surprising news. Is there something special about ACT test takers that produce overall disappointing scores? Did SAT test takers perform similarly? Is this every ACT test given this year? Lastly, look at the number of states where less than 40% of graduates took the ACT. A lot, right? Now, consider the potential numbers of graduates that took the test in other states. The analysis was made in that state if only 41% or more of grads took the test. Between the 2 groups, that's still a lot of folks, potentially, NOT taking the ACT and not counted in this study. Maybe in this economic climate, they're flocking to community college.They don't need ACT scores there. Maybe they're waiting to take the test. Maybe the ACT is falling into disfavor among high school grads. Still, no matter what questions you ask about the data, something's not right in high school.
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