Carman-Ainsworth using latest means of communication with parents

FLINT TWP. — With help from enhanced technology and better use of social media tools, Carman-Ainsworth schools are doing better than ever at keeping the lines of communication open.

Its Courier newsletter, a long-standing means of communicating directly with parents, is transitioning into primarily an electronic communication format.

In the most recent March 7 e-Courier edition Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff penned an open letter about C-AHS’ college readiness rating. He took issue with findings that only 8 percent of Carman- Ainsworth graduates are ready for college compared to a state average of 16 percent, according to the ACT College Readiness Standard.

Only 16 percent of high school graduates in Michigan being “college ready’ is an alarming statistic but the benchmark used to determine that number is questionable, Tunnicliff said.

ACT’s College Readiness Standard equates college readiness with meeting a certain score on four ACT subtests, — Reading, 21, English, 18, Math, 22 and Science, 24 — which are pretty high targets, he said.

Only 31 percent of the students in America scored a 24 or better on the science portion of the ACT last year, he said. A student could earn a composite score of 30 (which would almost guarantee admission to nearly all colleges/universities in Michigan), while earning a 23 in science, and thus not be considered ready for college.

Tunnicliff argued that college readiness should be defined by how students actually perform once they are in college. He shared data showing that C-A graduating classes of 2009 and 2010 performed well or outperformed their counterparts statewide.

In one telling comparison. a higher percentage of C-A grads — 81-85 percent — did not need remedial college coursework compared to 72-73 percent statewide who did.

Tunnicliff stressed the importance of the ACT test which all 11th graders in Michigan were required to take last Tuesday. Also, C-A 8th graders take the ACT EXPLORE test, 9th graders take the ACT Plan test and 10th graders take a retired practice ACT test to help them prepare for this critical assessment.

But Tunnicliff cautions against using ACT results alone to label C-A students not ready for college.

“The true proof of college readiness is how students actually perform in college,” he said.

Similarly, Tunnicliff, who is serving his first year as superintendent, also sent out a letter recently to give a realistic interpretation of the district’s MEAP scores.

He reiterated key points in a presentation to the school board March 5 in which he noted the impact of the district’s 20 percent transiency rate, which is fairly high number of students moving in or out of the district.

The MEAP test taken in October does not take into account whether a student has been with the district for one week or one year, he said,. Data shows that C-A MEAP performance improves significantly when adjusted to show students scores after a full year of instruction.

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