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Test scores don't always measure success

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An editorial by the CKNJ Editorial Board

Report cards have for decades been a traditional measure of success for students. However, over the years, test scores have become more and more important ... to the point that some school funding is contingent on the results.

The acronyms alone will confuse most people: ACT, KCCT, EXPLORE, SAT, PLAN ... and the list goes on.

We recognize the importance of tests, especially for minimum requirements and for college acceptance.

But good test scores don't always mean that students will succeed - and having poor scores doesn't mean they won't.

Success is also a subjective term. One person's idea of success won't necessarily be the same as another's.

A story in last week's News-Journal, "Some students not prepared for college," reported the fact that students are deemed "not ready for college" if they score less than 18 on the ACT.

Let's face it, some students simply don't test well. And some may do well on the ACT but lag behind when they get to college.

The study only tracks students who go to college, not those who didn't go to college and whether they were successful in whatever goals they set.

In addition, while higher education is a wonderful goal, a college degree just isn't in the cards for all students.

There should be more local options available for our children today. We should also focus on helping those students who don't go to college to become a success as well.

What can we do?

  • Offer more vocational classes - Can we provide more vocational classes for students on a local basis, such as advanced classes in mechanics, plumbing, woodworking, etc.?
  • Provide internships - Is it possible for more local businesses to offer internships to students, allowing more to get experience, which is what employers seek?
  • Encourage self-evaluation - Students need to determine what type of career will make them happy, not what their parents think the future should hold for them.

Success is possible for all students. It's only the definition that's different.