Ninety percent of parents believe their children are performing at “grade level” or higher in their schoolwork, according to a Learning Heroes survey this spring. Yet only about a third of high school graduates are ready for college-level courses, writes Fordham’s Mike Petrilli in Education Next.
Ignorance isn’t bliss, he argues. If students and their parents knew they weren’t on track for success, maybe they’d do something about it.
There are efforts to help parents understand their children’s test scores, writes Petrilli. However, “they all have a tendency to soft-pedal the bad news.” Parents might learn their elementary and middle school aren’t ready for “further study” or “the next grade level,” but they won’t be told they’re not on track to succeed in college, which is nearly everyone’s goal.
“Predictive analytics” can estimate a sixth-grader’s future ACT scores, he writes. Why not tell parents if their child is on track for Flagship University, Directional State U or remedial classes at Local Community College?
If parents learn early enough that their child is on the remedial track, they can do something about it.
College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide free online tutoring linked to PSAT results, writes Petrilli.
When kids get their PSAT scores, they can instantaneously link to Khan Academy modules that target areas where they need additional help. More than one million teenagers have taken advantage of the offering so far. Why couldn’t states (or districts) do the same? Parents may be more likely to take bad news seriously if it accompanies resources to help their children improve.
Still, it may be that test-score results will never convince parents that their kids need to step it up, at least until schools stop handing out As and Bs to students who aren’t on track for success.
On Curmudgucation, Peter Greene doubts that test scores are more accurate than grades.