This week the administrators of the ACT test confirmed what was suspected a month ago when preliminary data were released, Nevada high school students are dead last in the nation in college preparedness.
Nevada students eked out a mere 17.7 points out of a possible 36 points, compared to a nationwide score of 20.8, which was down from 21 a year ago.
Nevada’s score plummeted from the previous year’s 21 points, largely because only 40 percent of students took the test then but the state now requires all students to take the ACT. Other states that made the test mandatory also saw declines as non-college bound students were added.
Additionally, as reported earlier, 90 percent of Nevada students failed to achieve benchmark scores on all four of the test categories — English, math, reading and science. ACT now reports that this compares to 34 percent nationally.
“This decline in overall readiness can be explained, in large part, by the addition this year of seven more states that funded the ACT for all 11th graders as part of their statewide testing programs,” ACT reported. “Scores went down significantly in each of those seven states, as expected, helping to drive the national average down. In contrast, 22 other states saw score increases this year, and another eight states saw no change. A total of 20 states administered the ACT to all public school graduates in this year’s class.” Only 18 states reported 100 percent participation.
Sixty-four percent of 2016 graduating seniors took the ACT compared to 59 percent of graduates the previous year and 52 percent in 2012.
Additionally, Nevada was dead last in percentage of students meeting the benchmark scores in each of the four categories, save one. In math, Mississippi students scored 1 point less.
Only 37 percent of Nevada students achieved the benchmark score in English, compared to 61 percent nationally. Only 26 met the reading benchmark, compared to 44 percent nationally. Just 21 percent scored adequately in math, compared to 41 percent in the nation. And 18 percent did well enough in science, compared to 36 percent.
“Last year, ACT issued a call to action, urging educators and policymakers to work to improve the education system as a whole,”ACT Chief Executive Officer Marten Roorda was quoted as saying in a press release. “While the drop in scores this year is not indicative of lower achievement overall, we are still seeing far too many students left behind by the nation’s education system. When a third of high school graduates are not well prepared in any of the core subject areas, college and career readiness remains a significant problem that must be addressed. It is critical that we continue to work hard to improve.”
The Las Vegas newspaper quoted Steve Canavero, state superintendent of public instruction, as saying the test results are unacceptable. “We can do more, and our students can do more, and our system can do more,” he said. “Poverty, mobility (and) diversity cannot be an excuse.”
That has yet to be proven.