Stuck In The Middle: Missouri’s Middling Academic Achievement
I previously displayed Missouri’s rankings in terms of student achievement. On the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Missouri fourth graders ranked 32nd and 28th in reading and math achievement; eighth-grade students ranked 25th and 33rd. Since that post, more evidence of Missouri’s middling performance has come to light. In 2012, the average ACT score for Missouri students was 21.6, ranking our state 26th in the country.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has a bold vision of moving the state into the top 10 in terms of academic achievement by the year 2020. To get into the top 10 in ACT performance, the average ACT score will most likely have to increase more than 1.2 points. Because we have eight years left to reach this goal, we will have to improve by .15 each year. To put this into perspective, our state’s average ACT score has remained unchanged at 21.6 for the past eight years. We previously hit 21.6 in 1999 and 2000, but dipped from 2001 to 2004. Since 1994, the state has improved from 21.2 to 21.6 and has never gained more than a tenth of a point in a single year.
The wise Dr. Seuss once wrote, “Unslumping yourself is not easily done.” We are not necessarily in a slump, but we are certainly stuck, and unstucking yourself is not easily done either.
Over the next two weeks, I will be posting a series of blogs under the title “Stuck In The Middle.” I will discuss the state of our educational system and propose solutions that will allow us to become unstuck. We also want your feedback, so visit us on Facebook to Show-Me Your Views.