Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently issued a report comparing graduation rates, Michigan Merit Exam (MME) results and college-readiness as defined by the ACT exam. The results were alarming. Although schools have shown increase in graduation rates, most school kids perform poorly on college entrance exam. On average, only one out of six children in the class of 2010 was college-ready.
MDE posted the results for each school on its website. This is the first time MDE has given a school-by-school analysis. Many schools with over eighty percent graduation rate have shown low percentage kids being college ready. This phenomenon appeared in elite districts like metro Detroit as well as other school districts.
The results raised a lot of concerns. As Detroit Free Press reported:
The analysis by the Michigan Department of Education underscores that graduation rates are not a reflection of the quality of education kids are getting. It raises "grave concern" that students are graduating without the skills to succeed, said Martin Ackley, spokesman for the MDE."Where is the value of that high school diploma if the students walk out the door not knowing how to read and write or do basic math and science?" Ackley asked.
Some have questioned about the validity of the results. Their arguments include the meaning of college-readiness set by ACT and that standardized tests like ACT do not measure some important aspects, such as motivation.