Tag Archives: remediation

Colorado's ACT Flatline Has Me Worried

I feel like I’ve been alienating my fellow edu-nerds in recent weeks by spending so much time talking about the antics of the courts. Most recently, we examined a Colorado Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the “Negative Factor” under Amendment 23. One could be forgiven for believing that I had suddenly changed careers and become the world’s youngest edu-lawyer extraordinaire. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Today, we celebrate my triumphant return to the world of education policy data by taking a belated look at Colorado’s 2015 ACT scores. As most of you know, the ACT is taken by every high school junior in the state under state law. This year, that amounted to 57,328 kids. The ACT is an important test, as it provides the best picture of the “end product” our education system has produced after more than a decade of school for most students. Unfortunately, Colorado’s ACT numbers this year are flat again. In fact, they’re a little worse than flat, with our overall composite score having fallen from 20.3 in 2014 to 20.1 this year (on a 36-point scale). Other than a very slight increase in science composite scores, scores across all subjects were down. The […]

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A Little Rain on the Graduation Rate Parade

What’s in a number? If you’re talking about educational choice, numbers like the ones coming out of Arrupe Jesuit High School can be beacons of hope for tough populations of kids. In other cases, numbers can convey more concerning trends. And in still other cases, numbers can be rigged in such a way that they don’t tell the full story. I was reminded of the importance of questioning numbers in the education debate yesterday as I read a great Denver Post piece from the Education Commission of the States’ Peter Huidekoper. The piece points out a disconcerting disconnect (alliteration!) between higher graduation numbers, low ACT scores, and ugly remediation rates in some Colorado schools. For those who don’t know, “remediation rate” refers to the percentage of students who require remedial courses in college before they begin full-fledged coursework. If you’re feeling a bit nerdy and want to dive deeper, the Colorado Department of Higher Education just released the 2014 Legislative Report on Remedial Education, which somewhat paradoxically covers 2013 high school graduates. (For the record, I believe there are significant limitations when it comes to how Colorado calculates its remediation rate. But that’s a discussion for another time…) Huidekoper starts […]

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Keeping Effective Teachers? Colorado Would Grade Better on the Curve

An absolutely vital key to successful education is high-quality instruction. So how well is Colorado doing in keeping effective teachers on the job in classrooms like mine? (Answer below) On a new iVoices podcast, you can listen to Sandi Jacobs – vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) – talk with my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow about her group’s new State Teacher Policy Yearbook and where Colorado fits in: To dig more in depth, go take a look at NCTQ’s Colorado report (PDF).

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Still Too Many Colorado High School Graduates Need Help Catching Up

High school and college are still a long ways off for me, but I found this interesting for those of you who are interested in education. A recent report from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (PDF) found that 29.9 percent (that’s almost 3 in 10!) of Colorado public high school graduates entering Colorado public colleges and universities in 2007-08 needed remediation. Wow, that’s a mouthful! And as Ed News Colorado points out, it isn’t good news, either: Remediation costs at least $27.6 million a year, $14.6 million in state tax dollars and $13 million in tuition paid by students, the report said. (The actual cost is higher, because some remediation costs, such as summer school, weren’t included in the total.) “It’s unfortunate,” said Gov. Bill Ritter, that money is spent on remediation “instead of investing those funds in financial aid, classroom instruction and innovative research. We can and must do better.” But has Colorado been doing better than in recent years?

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