For immediate release…
Thursday – April 11, 2013


HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – In 2010, when the public colleges and universities within Kentucky collectively reached an understanding with the Council on Postsecondary Education that set benchmark ACT scores for English, reading and mathematics and developed remediation paths for students who score below those benchmarks, no one was certain what to expect. Kentucky was the first state in America to implement such a program.

Just three years later, the results are impressive. Kentucky college and career readiness rates have risen statewide, from 34 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2011 and a remarkable 47.2 percent in 2012. This data is available on the Kentucky Department of Education’s School Report Card.

Under the program, called the Kentucky Online Testing (KYOTE) project, high school juniors who score below ACT benchmarks in those areas are offered transitional courses as seniors and then may take either a KYOTE or COMPASS college placement exam. If they pass, they are guaranteed placement into a credit-bearing course in that area without the need for remediation at any public college or university in the state. And all universities agreed to honor the same cutoff scores.

In Northern Kentucky, KYOTE project participants from the Northern Kentucky University Department of Mathematics and Statistics have expanded the agreement to include direct collaboration between the P-12 and college communities. Through funding made available from the Kentucky Partnership Academies through the NKU Center for Educator Excellence, faculty have worked directly with high school teachers and administrators to create and organize transitional mathematics courses, set up testing sites and provide curriculum materials linked directly to KYOTE standards at no cost to schools.

Faculty have also engaged high school students directly, speaking about the importance of college and career readiness – especially in mathematics – and providing information about the structure of college-level mathematics, including developmental programs. To date, 15 presentations have been given at 10 different high schools, directly impacting over 1,000 students and teachers.

A pair of large regional meetings were also held, attractive more than 70 high school mathematics teachers and administrators from over 25 regional high schools, both public and private. Also, a textbook called “Transition to College Mathematics” was written and shared free with teachers online. The book includes 33 sections of material linked directly to the KYOTE College Readiness and College Algebra Placement Exam standards. It emphasizes the transition from basic arithmetic to algebra and includes exercise sets for each section. The textbook and related materials are available at http://kyote.nku.edu.

Regionally, most districts have exceeded their KDE delivery targets, but several deserve special recognition for their outstanding performance and commitment to college and career readiness. Grant County saw its percentage of college and career readiness improve from 27 percent in 2010 to 54.3 percent in 2012. During that same period, Campbell County college/career readiness improved from 40 to 56.3 percent; and Boone County saw an increase of more than 14 percentage points (from 46 percent in 2010 to 60.3 percent in 2012). All three districts were significantly above the state average of 47.2 percent last year.

Of the 14,232 high school graduates statewide who became college ready by meeting all three ACT benchmarks, 4,509 of them passed either the KYOTE or COMPASS exam – that’s nearly one out of every four graduates. According to program administrators, this data shows that senior-year intervention programs, including transitional coursework, are a vital piece to the college readiness model in Kentucky.

Though early returns are promising, Kentucky has a way to go before it realizes the Senate Bill 1 mandate of 67 percent college and career readiness by the year 2015. Statewide, this means increasing the number and quality of transitional courses available to high school seniors.
And in Northern Kentucky, it will necessitate increasing the awareness of the transitional course model, preparing teachers to develop and teach these courses and helping students find the willingness and desire to remediate before entering college or a career.

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