Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Idaho Students Outpace Nation on College Readiness

Idaho students continue to outpace students nationally in their preparation for postsecondary education, according to the most recent results of the ACT.

Despite this progress, the ACT report still showed far too many Idaho students are graduating high school without the skills they need to be successful in college or the workforce, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said.

The ACT, similar to the SAT, is an assessment that students take before applying to institutions of higher education. The ACT measures students’ college-readiness in the areas of English, math, reading and science. 

“While Idaho students have continued to make progress on the ACT since 2007, I recognize we still have a long way to go. As State Superintendent, my goal is for every student not only to graduate from high school but to graduate with the skills necessary to be successful in postsecondary education or the workforce, without the need for remediation,” Superintendent Luna said.

Idaho’s average composite score has risen since 2007, consistently outpacing the national average. In 2010, Idaho students scored an average 21.8 composite score, compared to the national average of 21.0.  The highest possible score is a 36.

Twenty-six percent of Idaho students met or exceeded the college-readiness benchmarks in English, math, reading and science, compared to just 24 percent of students nationally.  The college-readiness benchmarks are defined by ACT as scores that indicate students will likely be ready for entry-level coursework in college.

Still, despite being above the national average in both composite score and college-readiness indicators, far too many Idaho students are not meeting these benchmarks.

Since taking office in 2007, Superintendent Luna has worked to ensure every Idaho student graduates from high school prepared to live, work and succeed in the 21st century.

He joined Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to lead the Education of Alliance for the past two years in its effort to develop and implement a vision and mission for Idaho’s public education system, specifically focusing on raising student achievement and improving the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for college or career.

The Education Alliance is made up of the leaders of key educational stakeholder groups representing teachers, administrators, school board trustees and parents as well as leaders of major corporations across Idaho. 

In 2009, the group published its Transformational Education Agenda for the State of Idaho. 

As a part of these efforts, Superintendent Luna has also fought to raise the bar on Idaho’s content standards, the standards students are expected to learn and know by the end of each grade.

In 2009, Idaho joined and became an integral part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, an effort to develop more rigorous, common standards in mathematics and English language arts among states that will be comparable to any country around the world.

These proposed Common Core State Standards have been adopted by more than 30 states around the country and are now up for approval before the Idaho State Board of Education.  If approved, they will go before the Idaho Legislature in January. 

These are just some of the ways in which Superintendent Luna and members of the Education Alliance of Idaho are working to improve the level college- and career-readiness among Idaho’s students.

~ Melissa M.

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