Tuesday, April 17, 2007

ACT scores decline under Core Plus, remedial math rates up

At their "Parent Math Nights," CPS administrators showed CPS student ACT scores and rates of enrollment in post-secondary remedial math that compare favorably to other districts in Missouri with similar demographics. However, that same data shows a troubling historical trend.

The charts below show the number of CPS students enrolling in remedial math courses at the post-secondary level jumped after Core Plus was adopted in 2001-02. From single digit enrollment rates in remedial math prior to 2001, 20% of Hickman graduates enrolled in remedial math at colleges and universities in 2006. Rock Bridge results are just as alarming.

The original data used to prepare the charts are available at the DHE website here: http://www.dhe.mo.gov/hsgrad2005table1c1.shtml The Missouri Department of Higher Education reports high school graduates' enrollment and preparation at Missouri public colleges and universities for each year since 1996. This includes all students that enroll full- or part-time as degree- or nondegree-seeking first time freshmen at all 2 and 4 year post-secondary institutions in Missouri.

State Representative Ed Robb currently has a bill in the Missouri House that would allow students at two-year or four-year colleges or universities to seek tuition reimbursement from their high schools when they have to take post-secondary remedial courses. Whether you agree or disagree with this course of action, it's clear that the problem warrants attention.

It's no surprise that ACT scores (chart below) also went down during the same time period. These are immediate negative results much like the immediate deleterious effect of Connected Math on the IAAT test scores of 7th graders which we reported on this blog. What is surprising is that the district isn't looking at or reporting these results in its Secondary Math Task Force report to the Superintendent. The historical trend in the results of the Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test was also never examined.

The Columbia school district continues to compare itself only to other Missouri schools, and plans to narrow those comparisons even further by suggesting that CPS should only be compared to schools that use experimental curricula like Core Plus. This despite the fact that in 2005 only 17 percent of Missouri’s 10th grade students scored at proficient or advanced in math according to a Missouri Alliance on Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science Education report.