From the East Valley Tribune:
In terms of preparedness for college reading and math courses, a growing percentage of Maricopa County graduates are not ready for those rigors when they move up to Maricopa County community colleges or Arizona universities, an Arizona Community Foundation report suggests. That’s 59% of high school grads in the county. Among the class of 2008, an average 70 percent of county students were college-ready in English, 42 percent in math. Those figures are down from 77 percent and 51 percent in 2006.
Among the Class of 2008, an average 70 percent of county students were college-ready in English, 42 percent in math. Those figures are down from 77 percent and 51 percent in 2006…
Standardized testing has played an issue in the readiness decrease, Garcia said, with the unintended consequence of student complacency. To graduate, students must pass the state’s AIMS test — which is a measure of student progress at the 10th-grade level, not college readiness.
“I’m seeing schools run into this struggle all the time,” Garcia said. “They struggle with getting students to take advanced course work to get them ready for college, because they are under the impression that, because they passed the standardized AIMS test, they are ready to graduate, ready to go to college.” [emphasis mine]
The results of the study, which was commissioned by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy and carried out by ASU and the Arizona Community Foundation, can be found here. Analysis below the fold:
If the crux of our fiscal argument against the AIMS test is the inevitable tuition tradeoff that results from the increasing number of awardees, then the core of the education policy argument is this: because the AIMS test has recently begun to play an increasingly important role in school and teacher evaluation, administrators have an incentive to artificially inflate passage scores by dropping standards, and teachers have an equally destructive incentive to teach to the test, lest they be subject to poor evaluations. The result? Droves of students who enter college only to find that mastery of the AIMS test does not correspond to competency in college courses. Indeed in 2008 High Schools in Maricopa County, the most populous, urbanized, and wealthy in the state, enjoyed the highest AIMS exceed rates in math and the second highest (behind Yavapai, wtf?) exceed percentage in reading. Of course, the tie between this disconnect and the RHHE need not be spelled out in detail. Perhaps at some point in history, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the AIMS test did require skills that had some use in the post-secondary school world, but that’s clearly not the case now.