Testing mania? I don’t know…you tell me

Good Monday Moanin’- August 31, 2015

By Jeff Salisbury


"Too many kids taking too many tests for too many lousy reasons."
“Too many kids taking too many tests for too many lousy reasons.”

Following the recent release of test-taker data for the state’s 2015 high school grads by American College Test and the State of Michigan, those who follow such things like me, learned that composite test scores continued to hover around 20.0 dating back to 2011.  The latest results showed Connecticut graduates led all states with a 24 composite score while Hawaii was lowest average with an 18.5 composite score. Michigan’s composite score ranked 38th in the nation along with New Mexico.

For those unfamiliar with the ACT, the multi-part test (English, math, reading, biology and writing) is scored on a scale of 1-36. Michigan’s composite scores remain relatively consistent since the Legislature mandated 100 percent of high school juniors take the test.  See historical below.


Why compare Michigan’s ACT scores to all 50 states?

I don’t know… You tell me.

While the MLive article I read recently compared Michigan across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia since there are ONLY 12 states that mandate 100 percent of their high school students (11th graders) take the ACT there really is no reason to compare such a large group – just those 12 that mandate 100 percent participation.

Then, I would suggest take the numbers and compare demographics especially noting the poverty rates for those 12 states.

In spring 2013, all public high school 11th graders in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming were tested with the ACT as required by each state.

Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming students who met ACT’s 2014 graduating class criteria are included in the 2014 graduating class average score results.


What was the point back in the spring of 2007 when the Michigan legislature mandated that all Michigan juniors regardless of their interest in post-secondary education, courses completed, academic standing must take the ACT?

I don’t know… You tell me.

Michigan Historical ACT Composite Scores – Percentage of graduates as test-takers

2014 – 20.1 – 100 percent of juniors regardless of post-secondary plans

2013 – 19.9 – 100 percent

2012 – 20.1 – 100 percent

2011 – 20.0 – 100 percent

2010  – 19.7 – 100 percent

2009 – 19.6 – 100 percent

2008 – 19.6 – 100 percent

2007 – 21.5 – 70 percent/college-bound graduates only

2006 –  21.5 – 67 percent

2005 –  21.4 – 69 percent

2004 – 21.4 – 68 percent

2003 – 21.3 – 69 percent

2002 – 21.3 – 68 percent

2001 – 21.3 – 69 percent

2000 – 21.3 – 71 percent

1999 – 21.3 – 69 percent

1998 – 21.3 – 68 percent

1997 – 21.3 – 68 percent

1996 – 21.1 – 64 percent

1995- 21.1 – 64 percent

1994 – 21.0 – 63 percent

Maybe to prove that non-college bound student scores will lower the composite average?

I don’t know… you tell me.


Think there’s a direct correlation between a state’s ACT composite scores and the same state’s percentage of poverty?

I don’t know… You tell me.

States Mandating ACT                       2014 Composite Score            % Poverty Rate​

  1. ​Utah                                        20.8                                         12.7
  2. Illinois                                     20.7                                         14.7
  3. Colorado                                 20.6​                                         13.0
  4. No. Dakota                             20.6​                                         10.0
  5. Montana                                  20.5                                         16.5
  6. Michigan                                 20.1​                                         17.0
  7. Wyoming                                20.1​                                         10.9
  8. Kentucky                                19.9                                         18.8
  9. ​Tennessee                                19.8​                                         17.8
  10. Louisiana                                 19.2                                         19.8
  11. Mississippi                               19.0                                         24.0
  12. ​No. Carolina                            18.9                                         17.9


Maybe there really is a correlation between educational “success” as measured by ACT composite score.

I don’t know… you tell me.

By the way… the 6 states with the most people living in poverty as of 2014 are:

  1. Mississippi (100 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 24.0 percent – ACT composite = 19.0)
  2. New Mexico (69 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 21.9 percent – ACT composite = 19.9)
  3. Kentucky (100 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 19.8 percent – ACT composite =19.9)
  4. Arkansas  (93 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 19.7 percent – ACT composite = 20.4)
  5. Louisiana (100 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 19.2 percent – ACT composite = 19.2)
  6. Georgia (53 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 19.0 percent – ACT composite = 20.8)


To this list I probably should list the District of Columbia where 37 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – The Poverty Rate: 18.6 –  and the ACT composite = 21.6)

As noted above, Michigan’s percentage of people living in poverty is 17.0.







So, what should all that mean to parents, teachers and students?

I don’t know… You tell me.


Movie Review:

Back to The Old Regent again over the weekend, this time with my wife Penny to see Friday night’s showing of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Originally, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a television series when Penny and I were in high school. It was broadcast on NBC from September 1964, to January 1968. It followed two secret agents, one American and one Russian, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who worked for a secret international counter espionage and law and enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E which was an acronym for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Vaughn and McCallum both continue to act on stage, film and television, Vaughn in various character roles, while McCallum is best known as medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard in the American television series NCIS. The MOVIE, Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a British-American action comedy spy film directed by Guy Ritchie and co-written by Lionel Wigram and Ritchie and stars Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, Alicia Vikander as Gaby Teller, Elizabeth Debicki as Victoria Vinciguerra and Hugh Grant as “Waverly” from the British intelligence service.

The movie opens in 1963, with professional thief turned CIA agent Napoleon Solo extracting Gaby Teller, daughter of Udo Teller,  from East Berlin. Teller is an alleged Nazi scientist turned US collaborator following World War II, who’s been evading Russian KGB agent Illya Kuryakin. We quickly learn that Dr. Teller’s  being held against his will and made to build a nuclear weapon by ​Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra, a wealthy couple who also happen to be Nazi sympathizers. Due to the potential end of the world” crisis, the CIA and KGB reluctantly agree to have Solo and Kuryakin team up and they are ordered to stop the Vinciguerras. The trio of Gaby Teller, Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin  travel to Rome, where Teller and Kuryakin pose as an engaged couple and Solo as an antiquities dealer as their respective covers. The scenery is marvelous, the cast is more than credible and the fashions – they were stunning – especially the female leads and other cast-members all or most of whom looked like Cosmopolitan magazine models dressed in ensembles suitable for a fashion-shoot circa 1963. Without giving anything away, it’s clear by the ending that there is the expectation this will become a so-called movie-franchise along the lines of Mission Impossible. Penny didn’t care for it all that much – but I loved it.

Open Mon – Sat at 7:00 pm $4.00
Matinees on Saturday at 2:00 pm $3.00

Mondays – 2-for-1 admission
Tuesdays – B.Y.O.B. for free popcorn
Wednesdays – Facebook fan special