One measure of the quality of a school district is the percentage of its high school graduates who are “college ready.” Of course, this still leaves us with the task of defining and then measuring “college ready.”
ACT provides a widely used college entrance test. It has defined college-ready in terms of scores on its test. For example, see the (8/18/2010) article: ACT scores dip, but more students college-ready. Here is some material quoted from that article:
Alfie Kohn is one of my favorite writers. He is a leading, insightful, and sometimes controversial force in working to improve our educational system. He has written and spoken extensively about his insights into many of the very challenging problems in education. Today I read his article:
Kohn, A. (2/16/2011). STEM Sell: Are Math and Science Really More Important than Other Subjects? The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2/19/2011 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alfie-kohn/the-stem-sell-are-math-an_b_823589.html.78
The U.S. Federal Government recently released a report on science education at the precollege level. As "usual" the results are disappointing to those of us who believe that STEM education (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) is a very important component of an overall good education. See the report at http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/science_2009_report/.
A few weeks ago I was reading a book to one of my grandchildren who is in kindergarten. We came to a picture of a cartoon animal that had five spots on its front side. I suggested to my grandchild that the animal likely had spots on it back. I asked my grandchild how many total spots the animal had. He thought a little bit and decided that the animal had five spots on its front side and five spots on its back side. A little quick mental arithmetic and he produced an answer—11 spots. But, within a second, he said, no that is not right. A few more seconds and he produced the number 10 with some help from his fingers.
I was amazed at the self-assessment, error detection, and correction process I had witnessed. Of course, as an adult I do this relatively frequently. I say something, think about what I have said, and then try to undo the damage from an incorrect statement. I write an email message, hastily proofread it, send it, and then realize that it contains an error.