ACT scores shouldn’t be written off

The average score on the ACT fell to its lowest level in more than three decades (“ACT Test Scores Drop to Lowest Level in More Than 30 Years,” The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 12). It’s easy to attribute the decline to the pandemic, which certainly played a part.  But I think there’s more to the story.

Standardized tests are attacked for a host of reasons. They are hardly perfect, but they shouldn’t be dismissed for their technical shortcomings.  I say that because the U.S. has no national curriculum.  As a result, it’s impossible to know how much learning is going on.  Ideally, standardized tests are best used for diagnostic purposes. Nevertheless, they provide valuable feedback.

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