The Texas Education Agency was proud to announce this week that Texas students taking the ACT college-admission test did better than ever this year. Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said not only the scores for all students combined but also those for white, Hispanic/Latino, and African-American subgroups were at all-time highs, matching or exceeding nationwide averages. The data show “we continue to make steady progress in college and career readiness, validating our efforts to improve rigor in Texas public schools,” according to Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes.
Reviewing the data, though, we find ourselves wondering about a couple of things. For one, there was a decline in the number of Texas students taking the ACT, even as there was an increase in the number taking the exam nationwide. Could recent cuts in the state’s financial aid to college students and rising tuition costs be having a discouraging effect on college aspirations, reflected in declining test participation?
We also have to wonder how much better the ACT results for those tested might have been if the state had not made deep cuts in education funding to the detriment of students from pre-K through high school. You can see the entire ACT report at here.