Here some background on the ACT from KSN&C:
Skip Kifer's pieces - To Predict or Not to Predict and A Narrow View of Student Potential
Ben Oldham's piece - Adding Understanding to ACT Scores
And my little rant - What the Bluegrass Institute Doesn't seem to know About the ACT
Susan Weston Spanks the ACT's PLAN test here and CPE President Robert King here.
This from the Herald-Leader:
Kentucky's public high school juniors improved their math scores slightly on the ACT this year, but scores on the test in other subjects remained flat or fell slightly.
The 2009 ACT scores also show that less than half of public high school juniors in Kentucky are ready to do college-level work in English, algebra and other subjects...
Overall, state ACT scores changed little from 2008. The report suggests no dramatic overall trends, because this is only the second year that all juniors in Kentucky public schools have been required to take the ACT. The test assesses students' ability to complete college work and is considered the most widely accepted college entrance exam.
Kentucky is one of only a handful of states requiring the test, which assesses English, reading, mathematics and science skills. Each subject is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. The test is administered statewide on the same day.
Monday's ACT report drew a variety of responses from educational experts around the state.
Richard Day...said that with only two years of scores, it's too soon to declare a trend. Even if a trend were spotted, Day said, it would be tough to assign a meaning.
"What would you attribute that to? The ACT curriculum is not what Kentucky teaches," Day said.
Rather, Day said, the ACT is one of several measures for evaluating student performance, designed to distinguish "between good students and very good students." ...
...Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the state education department, said the relatively low level of college preparation might reflect that many juniors hadn't taken upper-level courses yet.
Robert King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, said that the state's educational bureaucracy is trying to figure out how to align high school curricula so that students will arrive at college better prepared. The step is one of several educational changes required under legislation passed by the General Assembly this year.
As things stand now, King said, Kentucky students can do everything that's asked of them in K-12 and not be competitive in college. The goal, he said, is for colleges to communicate what they expect incoming students to know, and for Kentucky's elementary and secondary education system to teach it...
...Yvonne Baldwin, an administrator at Morehead State University, cautioned against putting too much stock in ACT results.
"Relying on the ACT as the sole measure of college readiness is a trap, because it gives too much power to the test," Baldwin said. "I think we need to go back to teaching high school in high school, and college in college. ... The national trend data says that a rigorous high school experience is the best indicator of college success. And I don't think that's happening for a lot of students."