The Nevada Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved two contracts totaling $5.8 million to implement the Nevada School Performance Framework and provide College and Career Readiness Assessments to all of Nevada’s high school juniors.
Acting Superintendent Steve Canavero told the board Emetric will get $1.7 million of that total to handle the expanded scope of work including publication of the Nevada Report Card and support for the high school proficiency exam writing assessment among other items.
The remaining $4.1 million goes to ACT to provide that test to every student enrolled in grade 11 public schools. The contract amendment expands the dollar amount to nearly $6.1 million to cover the cost of the ACT exams to all students. Canavero said this past year was the first time the test was administered statewide and school districts had to help cover the total cost.
He said Nevada now joins 12 other states who have gone to the ACT test for all high-schoolers and this coming year has the budget to pay for it.
Canavero said Nevada experienced the same issue in their first round of testing those other states saw — the percentage of students who tested as college and career ready fell dramatically.
The reason, Canavero said, is, in the past, only those students actually planning to go to college took the exam. When everyone was told to take it this past year, he said a lot of the students not heading for college didn’t really do well on the test reasoning they didn’t need the test for their planned career.
As a result, statewide, the percent of test takers who passed all sections of the ACT fell from 25 percent to just 8 percent.
Carson High School saw a similar drop since all of last year’s juniors were required to take the test as opposed to just those planning to go to college, with the number of students passing all sections of the ACT falling from 39 to 12 percent. But those figures remained above the state average and Carson has implemented steps designed to increase the number of students passing all sections of the ACT.
The good news, Canavero said, is now the department and the school districts have “a true measure, a benchmark measure of college readiness.” He said the graduation requirements committee will be reviewing the results and potentially recommending changes to graduation requirements for Nevada high school students to improve the percentage of college ready students.
Since the students take the test in grade 11, he said those scores could highlight areas where individual students need attention or extra work to become college ready.