Metro Schools’ director Dr. Shawn Joseph expressed his displeasure with the college-ready gaps represented by the 2016 ACT scores published last week. The Tennessean’s Jason Gonzalez reported that the scores of non-economically disadvantaged black and white students were 17.9 and 22.3, respectively. Further, economically disadvantaged black students scored 16.9, while white students in the same category scored 18.5.
Achievement gaps are neither new nor unique, however, it still shocks the system to see the dominance of racial disparities in performance outcomes. Equally disappointing is the role economics plays in performance. Tragically, students of color eligible for free and reduced lunch have little chance of being adequately prepared for college.
The good news is that Nashville is replete with community partners who offer ACT prep, tutoring, and even underwrite fees. Still, there is something missing. Parents!
My hope is to see Dr. Joseph identify a platform that engages and educates families on the importance of college preparedness. We can argue the test’s relevance or whether we should prepare students who are not interested in college. In today’s world, a score of 21 is the readiness minimum and parents must partner with schools to ensure their child is more than ready.
Parents: don’t let your child’s decision to go to college be made for them! Begin asking teachers as early as middle school how to successfully prepare for the ACT. Additionally, students can register to take the ACT anytime; practice makes perfect.