AMAIRIKUHN EDGYKAYSHUN: THANK YOU, STANDARDIZED TESTSNovember 9, 2018
Mr. C.S. found this one, and it's more bad news for Amairkuhn edgykayshun: the latest ACT test scores are in for 2018, and the results are... well, disastrous, disappointing, and entirely to be expected:
There were two things that occurred to me as I read this latest in a long litany of bad edgykayshunal nooz. Here's what sparked my first observation:
The creators of the ACT test announced on Wednesday that scores for the class of 2018 are the worst reported in decades. Math scores, in fact, are in freefall among ACT-tested U.S. high school graduates, falling to their lowest mark in 14 years, according to The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2018, the ACT’s annual report.
The report includes ACT test results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"The percentage of ACT-tested graduates who met or surpassed the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in math—suggesting they are ready to succeed in a first-year college algebra class—fell to its lowest level since 2004," the report declared, with only 40 percent of 2018 graduates meeting the benchmark, "down from a high of 46% in 2012." (Emphasis added)
"Wait a minute," I thought. Algebra?!? In college? That one stunned me, because when I had algebra, I had it in the 8th grade, geometry in the 9th, algebra II and linear algebra in the 10th grade, and so on. And at the time, that program was more or less required of everyone. And that requirement was more or less common in the region of the country I came from. Now, of course, it is always erroneous to extrapolate general patterns from a "sample of one," especially when that sample is oneself, but I cannot help but do so, for if this is indicative of a general trend, it now means that what used to be done in junior high school, or middle school, is now pushed back into college, and our students are still not prepared for it. In short, not only has there been "grade inflation," but college is no longer genuinely college.
So what, then, are they doing in all that time leading up to college? Well, to get to that we have to take a short trip around Harvey's Barn.
The rest of the article is the usual lament about Common Core, the increasing "one size fits all" federalization of edgykayshun, and so on. We've all heard it before, so there's no need to rehearse it here. If you're interested in the ins and outs of federalization, including the link between standardized testing and the surveillance state, MK-Ultra mind control projects, and so on, see my book with co-author Gary Lawrence Rotten to the (Common) Core.
What were they doing? The answer is hinted at in the following three paragraphs:
"The percentage of ACT-tested graduates who met or surpassed the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in math—suggesting they are ready to succeed in a first-year college algebra class—fell to its lowest level since 2004," the report declared, with only 40 percent of 2018 graduates meeting the benchmark, "down from a high of 46% in 2012."
The average score on the ACT math test dropped to its lowest level in 20 years — 20.5 on a scale of 1 to 36. American students scored 21.1 in 2012 and 20.7 last year.
"Readiness in English has also been trending down over the past several years, dropping from 64% in 2015 to 60% this year, the lowest level since the benchmarks were introduced," according to the report." Readiness levels in reading (46%) and science (36%) were both down one percentage point from last year but are showing no long-term trends either upward or downward. Science remains the subject area in which students are least likely to be prepared for college coursework." (Emphasis added)
It's that "showing no long-term trends either upward or downward" that caught my attention, when considered in the context of the overall trend downward. One might indeed argue that there is no trend since the Common Core standards are relatively new.
But standardized tests are not new, and since their successful mass introduction after World War Two, the overall trend is downward. One need only look at the disjointed, fourth grade level thinking (if that), and the illegible scrawls (which might as well be Mandarin ideograms) in a modern Amairikuhn high school term paper - the inability to think, analyze, synthesize, and then write in an adult, coherent and reasoning way - and one sees the trend immediately. I know, I used to teach at the college level (and that was in the 1990s!), and it was obvious and evident. So the answer to the question "what were they doing all that time?" seems perfectly clear and self-evident to anyone with a modicum of common sense: teachers were forced to teach to the tests which, with but few exceptions, required no thought, analysis, synthesis, and writing and arguing a case. Teachers were being separated from their own students, and the disciplines they were expected to teach.
John Taylor Gatto recently died, but it's worth recalling what he said, and why after a lifetime of trying to teach in this system, he finally threw up his hands, and quit: the system is not fixable. No amount of money, of tinkering, or of "education" or "certification" courses will fix it. No amount of federal involvement will fix it. More administrators and standardized tests will fix it. It is irretrievably broken. As Mr. Lawrence and I pointed out in our book, there's a long list of people in western cultural history who never attended a modern Amairkuhn school, nor ever sat for a "standardized test"; they're familiar names: William Shakespeare, Virginia Wolfe, Jane Austin, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, and so on.
This abominable system has, however, had one success: it has dumbed down most of the population.
Just like it was designed to do.
See you on the flip side...