State Capitol News
8:51 am
Thu August 20, 2009

High school test scores under dispute

Phoenix, AZ – On a raw level, the average test score for an Arizona senior on the ACT college-entrace exam is 21.9 versus 21.1 nationwide. And a higher percentage of those Arizona seniors are ready for college-level work than the national average. State School Superintendent Tom Horne said that's good news.

(Overall, I think the important thing is, more students are
taking the ACT and were above the national average. And I think
it's important for the public to know that, because they hear so
many negative things about Arizona education.)

It's true the number of Arizona seniors taking the optional test
is up. But what's also true is the percentage of seniors taking
the test is down, from 19 percent in 2004 to 15 percent now. By
contrast, 45 percent of seniors nationwide took the test. And
some states require the test of all seniors. Rep. Rich Crandall
who heads the House Education Committee said that makes Arizona's
results less impressive.

(I am pleased that we're not dropping at all. But it's very, very
misleading to say we're above the national average when only 15
percent of your kids take it.)

And of that 15 percent of seniors taking the test -- presumably
all college bound -- only 30 percent did well enough on ACT to
show they are ready for college-level biology and 42 percent
ready for college-level algebra. For Arizona Public Radio this is
Howard Fischer.