Comments about ‘Utah claims top ACT scores for second year’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 21 2014 11:25 a.m. MDT

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Logan, UT

Congratulations to our students! So proud of you!

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Wait, I thought if we didn't increase per-pupil funding our ability to educate our kids was going down the toilet? Could it be that what it's really about is parents who care and kids who stay out of trouble - not money?

American Fork, UT

That is AweSome! Congratulations. Excellent work to all.

American Fork, UT


Salt Lake City, UT

@Brave Sir Robin

Well Said!

I also thought that only blue states valued education and performed well. Two years in a row? This has got to shatter some liberal sterotypes.

jed c
Payson, UT

To Martel Menlove,
Martel Menlove (State School Superintendent) Quote in Deseret News:

"What makes this report so significant is that it includes all Utah students," Menlove said. "The number of Utah Hispanic students taking the ACT has nearly tripled in the past five years. The number of Pacific Islander students taking the test has nearly doubled in four years. These scores represent our school population as a whole, not just those who plan to attend college."

So what the superintendent is implying is that our Hispanic and Pacific Islander students do not plan on attending college. This implication is wrong and essentially racist. Many wonderful Hispanic and Pacific Islander students attend college and are very successful. You are also implying that they bring our test scores down, which just feeds the prejudice and misinformed notions of the general public. Who I am sure will respond with racist remarks to this post.

I hope these quotes were pieced together by the newspaper and not how he intended them to be linked together.

Murray, UT

Mr. Wood, may I suggest you do a little research on this issue. What was the national and Utah averages of the ACT scores 10, 20, 30, and 40 years ago. It would seem to me that the averages have gone down, at least from the 40 years ago time frame. 20 out of 36 is not a very good score.

Anti Government
Alpine, UT

@jed c

Could it be that you are trying to see something that wasn't intended? He seems to be acknowledging and even highlighting the fact that many more minority kids (statistically lower scores for a variety of reasons) are taking the test AND Utah does well. Seems he might be celebrating the fact more are taking the test and their education is improving?

If they did in fact bring the scores down as you assert he meant, how is Utah the highest?

Maybe you could provide the statistics that refutes the assertion you assume? Maybe you could show us the big change in college enrollment numbers of these minorities?

I really don't know what he meant or not. I also don't know the precise statistics about minority college enrollment. I'm guessing you don't either.

We all know students and/or student athletes that are the minorities mentioned. We wish them and any and all future college attendees all the success in the future.

Maybe you should stop assuming the worst.

St. George, UT


Apparently you have not taken the test before. It is very difficult and a 20 is above average score.

Murray, UT

@jazzer I graduate from high school 41 years ago. I did take the ACT test. While I don't remember exactly what my ACT score was, it was 28 give or take one point. My high school friends, with one exception, got between 30 and 32. The one exception had no intention of going to college, but the ACT test was mandatory back then. His score was 22 give or take a point. Maybe we had higher than normal scores, but it appears to me the average ACT score in Utah over the last 40 years has dropped a long way.

From my point of view, all the changes, modifications, tweaks, and other such things that have gone into our education system over the last 40 years has severely damaged our education system. To a certain extent, we need to go backwards to get our kids better educated going forward.

Salt Lake City, UT

Instead of demeaning Utah for its per capita expenditures on education, as is popular in some circles, we should congratulate the schools on using available resources wisely.

Wasatch Front, UT

re: "but educators point out that where participation is not universal, college-bound students typically self-select to take the ACT, resulting in a potentially inflated score."

The problem with silly "feel good" articles like this is that they fail to take into account demographic differences. Educators are quick to point out factors that justify our below average performance on the test, but fail to also adjust the numbers for factors which make Utah's scores look better than they actually are. For example, show the scores based on demographic segments (income, two-parent households, etc.) and Utah's numbers don't look so good.

We moved here from back east, moved into one of the so-called top high schools in the state, and have found the schools here to be mediocre at best. Funding and class size may have something to do with this. Other factors are clearly at play, however, Expectations of parents and teachers, the number of children per family that parents have to keep an eye on, the family resources per child, and other factors likely impact the performance of our students and schools.

Mediocrity should not be celebrated. Demographically adjusted, Utah is just mediocre.

Herbert Gravy
Salinas, CA

If ALL students were utilizing the great (free) resources (on line) of Khan Academy, scores would be even higher.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

While I STRONGLY support increased salaries for our educators and reduced class sizes, I think this article shows it is not how much you spend, but how you spend it. It also shows the support for education from many (unfortunately not all) of our homes.

Mediocrity? What part of “best in the nation” is mediocre?
The demographics have nothing to do with it. Below average?? – when compared to those states where only those wanting to go to college take the test, but best where ALL students are required to take the test. Up until a few years ago, the test was discretionary in Utah, as it still is in 38 states, and we were ABOVE the national average then. This is not a “feel good” story celebrating mediocrity. Read the article again without “I hate Utah” glasses on.

West Jordan, UT


Rhetoric verses reality! Got to love it!!!!!

Its time for some people to stop talkling, stop campaigning and wake up!

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Well done to all of Utah's students, teachers and parents.

Please remember this story the next time the teachers unions tell us the sky is falling because we don't spend enough money. We spend plenty of money, get pretty good results and need to work on improving the education process within current funding levels.

The Education establishment may want to take a close look at what former Governor Mike Pence is doing at Purdue University. While that is college, not K-12, many of his ideas can be transferred to improve our schools while cutting costs.

Steve C. Warren

Most of the 12 states where all students are tested have a far higher minority population than Utah, which tends to deflate their scores.

Note that Utah's overall score is now below the national average. In past years, when Utah didn't test all students and our scores were above the national average, the State Office of Education emphasized that we were above the national average. They said very little about the fact that fewer Utah students were being tested and that the proportion of minority test-takers here was comparatively low.

Buffalo, NY

... NOT surprising!?! I did-MUCH-better on thee-ACT'S-in my high school sr. yr. than thee SAT'S.
The then Chicago-based ACT test was more well-rounded than the skewed SAT'S from Boston! Only-REAL-"Rocket Scientists" & Super Nerds could score-WELL-on THEM!?!

Wasatch Front, UT

To Lost In DC:

I in no way have "I hate Utah" glasses on. I love the state which is why we moved here. But this is a feel good story. Without adjusting the scores for demographic differences, the comparisons made in this story are simply apples-to-roast beef comparisons.

Compare students from 1) two parent families, 2) with similar household incomes, and 3) similar parental education levels and the comparison would be interesting. Compare children from low income families, with a single parent, with similar education levels, and the comparison is more reasonable.

Our Utah high school is in a very affluent area, with very little poverty, relatively low divorce levels, and a very high percentage of parents with college/advanced degrees. Comparing our scores to other area high schools makes little sense with adjusting for demographic differences. The same principle applies to Utah vs other states with large segments of poor, urban students with a much higher prevalence of single parent households.

Many Utahans who have not lived outside of the state don't realize is how mediocre our schools are. It is simply a fact, skewed, apples-to-oranges statistics not withstanding.

Wasatch Front, UT

BTW, I don't blame teachers/administrators. They are actually doing well, all considered. But a state with our demographic profile should be doing better. Part of the answer may include putting more $ into our schools (for example, to retain good math/science teachers, and keep them from jumping to better paying administrative roles, or leaving education entirely), but other non-money based solutions would also help.

For example, expecting more of our students would help. Grade inflation is a problem. Teachers inflate grades for many reasons, but the biggest factors are whiny parents/students. Frankly, its easier to give out a few extra "A's" and "B's" than it is to deal with constant badgering from a student/parent. There are also too many second chance tests, and too much extra credit. All of these encourage sloppy work, poor preparation and limited time spent mastering material.

Another thing we could do is de-emphasize sports and extracurricular activities relative to 21st century job preparation, and put more emphasis on critical thinking, writing/communication, math, statistics and science. Redirecting some resources to these areas could have a significant impact on the future employability of our students.

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