Testing the tests

Did Nevada teachers suddenly become worse at teaching math one year? Did students suddenly become less able to absorb math?

We’re shocked to learn the extent that math proficiency scores have declined not just in Douglas County but across the Silver State.

Not really.

We predicted this would happen when state education bureaucrats decided to dump the requirement students pass a math proficiency exam to graduate from high school.

Instead, they replaced both the math and language arts components with a college entrance exam that all juniors in the state were required to take, but not required to pass.

While the coronavirus year of 2020-21 is the most recent entry into the state’s neva

dareportcard.nv.gov/di/ it’s pretty clear that a lack of motivation for passing the tests is widespread.

The exception that proves the rule is the state’s University High School, a charter school devoted entirely to college preparation, which didn’t see its scores drop below 95 percent the entire five years. In 2021, there were 234 students attending the school and we bet all of them were ready for that ACT test when it was administered.

But out here in the rest of Nevada, the schools serve students of all skill levels and interests. And with the cost of attending college climbing every year, the likelihood that an average student will invest in higher education is decreasing.

In 2016, we opined that requiring high school students take a college entrance exam was an expensive prospect that wouldn’t contribute to improving the state’s educational reputation.

At the time a credit at one of the state’s universities was $207.25. The cost for a credit before fees is $256 before fees this fall.

That’s just one of the factors that Nevada’s high school seniors face as they enter their last year of school.

Requiring all students to take a college entrance exam regardless of their plans just rubs their noses in the very real possibility they won’t get to attend college. That’s just mean.

We suspect that a portion of Nevada’s students are smart enough to know better than to waste their time preparing for a test they aren’t even required to pass.

 

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