D > B
At one Nashville high school, 29 percent of students who earned a B in algebra flunked the state algebra test; at two magnet schools, 100 percent of D students passed. Grades aren’t reliable indicators of performance, reports the Tennessean.
Writing from Nashville, Bill Hobbs critiques the coverage, pointing out that Tennessee now awards college scholarships to students with a B average (or a 19 on the ACT), encouraging teachers to inflate the grades of borderline students.
A second-day story reports that ACT scores don’t match grades. (The ACT is an SAT alternative that’s somewhat easier for students without strong verbal skills.) At one Nashville high school, C students average higher ACT scores than A and B students at five other schools.
A low ACT score can jeopardize a student’s chance of making it through college.
While state figures show that students with an A average have up to a 75% chance of graduating from college, the companion ACT data are more alarming. Students with the state average of 20 have only a 40% chance of earning a college sheepskin, while it takes a 33 to boost the odds to 71%.
As Bill says, low skills — not low ACT scores — hurt students’ chances to make it through college. It’s the education, stupid.