Friday, August 23, 2013

Beware Comparing CCSD's ACT Scores

The ACT is definitely a better college-entrance test than the SAT as it measures more of what a student has learned in high school to prepare for college than the student's potential for learning. Until recently the SAT has ruled in college admissions in the South; however, the ACT is gaining.

Still, the percentage of students in a high school graduating class who take the ACT varies widely. Both good and bad overall scores for a district are at the mercy of which students took the test. In many cases, very few students' taking the test can skew the results dramatically.

Our local newspaper needs to learn how to report statistics accurately, not merely to make
schools look good. Any overall score, state, county, or district-wide should be accompanied with the percentage of graduating seniors who took the test. Duh.

1 comment:

Alex Peronneau said...

Understanding the details and context of any statistical analysis are an important part of separating a proper interpretation from pure fantacy and spin. Yes, knowing who and what the composite results of these tests represent are just as important. The results from one state, district or other geographic location, or even one school, only measures those who took the test. Even the test group isn't static and can change from one year to the next. Spin doctors (Doctors of Education?) often use these standardized test results to illustrate assertions that are far removed from the truth. Always remember the old warning. Figures don't lie but liars figure.