Friday, July 1, 2016

No improvement in Arkansas ACT scores

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 9:48 AM

The state's performance on the ACT college entrance test was released today and, in the words of the Education Department, "held steady." In short, the state didn't improve noticeably and scores still lagged behind the national average. In none of four categories did a majority of students demonstrate college readiness.

The percentage of students who met college readiness benchmarks held steady this year as well. An ACT benchmark score is the minimum score needed for each subject area to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in a corresponding college-credit course. ACT’s benchmark scores are as follows:

• English – 18
• Mathematics – 22
• Reading – 22
• Science – 23

A total of 49 percent of Arkansas juniors met the benchmark in English, the same as in 2014-15; 25 percent met the math benchmark, a slight decrease from 26 percent; 31 percent met the reading benchmark, an increase from 29; and 24 percent met the benchmark in science, an increase from 23. A total of 14 percent met all four benchmarks, the same as in 2014-15.
Here are the statewide results. Dig in and you'll notice the usual gap between white and black students, though it narrowed a bit this year because the scores of white students fell a bit while black students scored the same.

This link will take you to scores by district and individual school. Regrettably those figures don't appear to be broken down by race and income, to give a more meaningful comparison of how schools and districts do with like students.

IN OTHER EDUCATION DEPARTMENT NEWS: Commissioner Johnny Key has named  Tina Smith to be the policy and special projects director of the Education Department, succeeding Susan Harriman, who's moved to Forward Arkansas. She comes from a job at the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, a Walton-funded charter school lobby.

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