15%. Is That Failing?

by S.C. Torrington on December 3, 2009

Numbers 15Another homeschooling mom shared an online article in The Baltimore Sun about the dismal results of math tests given in 15 states, including Maryland, to determine how high schoolers would fair in their freshman college math class. According to the article “The Algebra II test was given to 100,000 students across the nation, including 1,295 in Maryland, and showed that nationwide, 15 percent are prepared for their first college course. The Maryland pass rate was equivalent to the national pass rate.”

Granted, I’m not convinced that the mastery of a skill is best determined via traditional testing. And I can’t swear that Morgan could walk in, plop down with his #2 pencil and pass the test. Not so much because of the subject matter. But because Morgan has never walked in anywhere with a #2 pencil and taken a test. Yet that whole teaching/studying to test has been these high school students’ educational mantra since Pre-K. I remember the deathwatch in M’s elementary school when the Maryland School Assessment tests were being administered.

I’d be curious if the tested kids were prepped in any way beforehand. I’m also assuming that when the article said most of the Maryland students tested were from Baltimore, they mean public schools in Baltimore City (where test scores, on average, are lower than surrounding counties.) But regardless of how skewed these results may be, an 85 percent failure rate is appalling. We all know if these results were from some type of standardize testing of home-educated kids (however illegal), Mommy-heads would roll.

One of my greatest responsibilities has been to help M be academically prepared to pursue his Life’s goals, including college. That doesn’t mean he’s Harvard-bound (even if we could afford it.) But if he can’t pass snuff to get into a State college (if we can afford even that), his failure will lay totally at my clay feet. We’ll see…

Ironically the test was created through the American Diploma Project “in an effort to raise academic standards and graduation requirements for high schools around the country.”

But don’t worry, this test “doesn’t count.” Because if it did, they’d just lower the testing standards.

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