We all hate the question: which would you rather hear first, the good news or the bad news? So we’ll spare you from the unwelcomed choice, and we’ll just start with the good news we found in the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for twelfth-grade students.
According to the results, graduation rates continue to remain near the all-time high of 82 percent set in 2013-2014. On the surface, this seems encouraging – and to some extent it is. But even this good news is tempered by that fact that far too many employers and colleges will tell you that a high school diploma does not mean a student prepared with skills necessary for success in college or career.
Which leads us to the really bad news.
Twelfth-grade reading and math scores continue to follow a downward trend, falling one percentage point and two percentage points respectively. Further, a meager 37 percent of graduating students were considered prepared for higher education. And just to pile on all the bad news at the same time, the 2015 NAEP scores found the most dramatic drop in scores to be among students who were already struggling to keep pace—those students saw their score in reading fall by six points and their score in math by four points.
It’s critical that we seriously consider what these stale results mean, and how we can actively set more students on the road to success.
Instead of dismissing small drops in scores as insignificant, we ought to realize that plateaued scores—37 percent of students being prepared for college-level coursework, for example—is not progress or success. The first step is recognizing the failure of the status quo. It’s time we infuse our education system with much-needed innovations.
Palmetto Promise realizes it’s not just enough to cry for change and success, which is why we are always researching and suggesting specific ways to help South Carolina’s education system to better serve students. What are these innovations, you ask? Well, Palmetto Promise has many proven ideas —Achievement School Districts, Education Saving Accounts, and lots of others (which you can read here). And the best step you can take is to sign up to get the latest news about these exciting innovations!
Looks like we decided to follow more of a sandwich model for breaking this mixed news. It’s good students are graduating from high school, it’s disappointing they aren’t nearly as prepared as they ought to be, but it’s good there’s something that can be done to improve the problem.
But the situation is urgent: our future is on the line. Will you join us on this journey to make education in South Carolina the best it can be for teachers, parents, and students?