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Kids not college-ready, study says

March 23, 2011 - As high school seniors dive into their last trimester in Clarkston, how many are prepared for college?

Not many, according to the Michigan Department of Education's analysis of ACT scores. According to the study, less than 10 percent of 2011 high school graduates are considered ready for college in half of the high schools in the state.

Clarkston results faired better, with 24.7 percent of this year's graduates college ready, placing them 18th in Oakland County out of 28 districts and 80th in the state. They also scored higher than the national average of 24 percent.

The study doesn't tell the whole story, said Clarkston Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock.

"ACT scores represent one factor in college completion," Rock said. "The study is correlational. There is a positive relationship between ACT scores and grades in certain college courses."

Another factor, Rock pointed out, is the lack of a standard grading practice within or between colleges, as well as no guarantee every student is learning the same in a particular course.

"It is difficult to say that a grade in one college means the same as a grade at a different college," he said.

The grades also don't relate to how well a person will perform once they have a job in the field.

"Just because you earn an A in Biology doesn't mean you're be a great biologist sometimes the opposite is true," said Rock.

Clarkston is conducting its own study of graduates to see how ACT scores and other factors relate to college entrance, grade point average, and graduation.

The results will be shared once they become available, Rock said.

"Many, many factor into academic success," he added. "If we want to pay attention to research and do the best we can for every single child, we need to ensure that all have positive social skills, love their teachers, and among other things ensure excellent parenting."

But no matter what the results of the ACT or any other study, the goal of Clarkston schools remains the same getting each student ready for college and/or life past high school, he said.

"I will do my very best every day to ensure an excellent and challenging educational experience for every child every day," said Rock. "Nothing less will do."

According to the state study, college readiness is defined as the percentage of students meeting the following four minimum scores on the ACT; 18 on English, 21 on reading, 22 on math, and 24 on science.

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