The latest ACT scores for students are out.
ranks near the bottom of all states with an average score of 19.5. Tennessee
students averaged a 20.2 score, down from 20.6 the year before. According to
authorities, a score of 21 indicates a student’s readiness for a college
education. A closer look might uncover some of the problems with scores and
with education in general. Knox County
To begin with, what is the rationale for requiring every high school junior in the state to take the ACT? It’s admirable that the costs of the tests are covered by the state, but suspicions abound as to why this test was chosen over others. I suspect that plenty of lobbying and money from ACT, Inc. has swayed those in power and many colleges to choose this tool.
The reported average scores in the state fail to take several factors into account. Although the requirement by decision makers is that every student takes the test, juniors are not required to invest any energies into scoring well. A student can enter the testing center and randomly fill in circles for each section. The outcome in no way affects his graduation from high school.
At some point, politicians and school administrations will discover that NOT EVERYBODY WANTS TO GO TO COLLEGE! Many students are more interested in learning a skill or trade that will offer them a good salary and livelihood. We better hope that infusions of new workers into such areas as construction, plumbing, electricity, heating and cooling continue; otherwise, the cost of houses will soar, as will the payout for service calls. These are admirable careers that do not require a college degree, nor do they necessitate a set score on the ACT. The training is no less rigorous, but it doesn’t require years of classroom work.
What might be a better course of action in schools is a return to better teaching methods. Now, some folks will declare that I’m about to bash teachers. I’m not. Sure, as in any vocation, some people slip into the field and do a horrible job. However, most teachers are interested in working with kids to improve their skills. Perhaps “young’uns“ will become better students when interactions with teachers change.
For a little while, we should call for a moratorium on standardized testing. Let’s allow teacher to TEACH their subjects instead of prepping kids so that they will pass some test that is sacred. More than those exams are part of an education. The interaction between students and teachers as they discuss the meanings of poems and short stories expand personal education. Discovering the underlying causes of environmental problems might lead a student to a career that searches for solutions. Applying mathematical functions to such everyday events as precisely dropping a tree or cutting the correct angle on a board gives education its real value.
Technology is important in the classroom and plays major roles in our lives. However, it pales in comparison to the one-on-one relationship between teacher and student. Most of us are visual learners, but many of us also need to hear information and instructions. Machines don’t talk too well, and they can’t explain as well as a human who stands in front of whiteboard with marker ready to write or “figure” an explanation. That, my friends, is what separates real education from testing.
I want to see educational improvements in
as well as the state of
and around the nation. I’m tired of the state being in the bottom of the barrel
when it comes to education. To fix the problem, we have to test using
comparable groups. That means including only students who are college-bound.
The ones who are turned toward careers in other areas can be tested via
different methods. Those students who are challenged should not be included in
the testing outcomes, even though they might participate. Most of all, I want
to see money that is poured out to testing companies invested in hiring more
teachers who can work with smaller classes in more intense settings. Last, I
hope that “educational leaders” will acknowledge that an education is much more
than just a standardized test score. Of course, keeping their bureaucratic jobs
and allowing profits for test creators probably will block the needed reform to
I’m just saying…