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posted: 9/9/2012 5:00 AM

PSAE scores are embarrassing

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Beginning in 2001, all Illinois high school juniors were required to take the Prairie State Achievement Examination, which measures student achievement in reading, math, science, writing and social science. After 2004, social science was dropped from the test.

I guess that you can say that there is both good and bad news in the 2012 results. The bad news is that 49.3 percent of students failed to meet minimum standards in reading. The good news is that the scores were not even worse. What is extremely discouraging about the scores is that the students did better in math and science than they did in reading.

Students were not assessed in writing in 2012, but in 2011 only 53.7 percent of students managed to meet or exceed standards in the two most basic subjects -- reading and writing.

Local colleges report that about 50 percent of students are unprepared to take college level subjects. This is a disgrace that I am sure most other countries would not tolerate. Perhaps that is why American companies have to reach out to other countries for employees to fill positions.

It seems that there are few who are concerned about the abysmal level of academic achievement by Illinois high school juniors.

So who is to blame for the terrible test scores? The reasons, in order, are lack of parental involvement, school boards, administrators/teachers, and finally the curricula.

Apparently there are parents who are more interested in what the local sports teams are doing than what their sons and daughters are doing in high school. If parents were concerned, they would be demanding answers and explanations from school boards, school administrators and teachers for 12 years of terrible PSAE scores.

When the scores from the first PSAE were released in 2001, administrators were confident the scores would be different in future tests. They were right, they are worse.

Victor Darst

West Dundee

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