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Four Lacking Areas in National Education

Staff Writer

Every seven years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce evaluates each state on its academic achievement, and achievements by low-income and minority students. It evaluates the state’s return on their investments, truth in advertising about student proficiency, rigor of standards, postsecondary workforce readiness, their 21st century teaching force, flexibility in management and policy and their data quality. The evaluation is named “Leaders and Laggards.” When they assessed each state’s level of international competitiveness this year in 2014, they noticed weaknesses in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), basic reading, math proficiency and foreign language, based off of each state’s AP Exam scores. California received a D in the field of international competitiveness and below an A for the other ten topics.

According to the report, 23 percent of California’s students were proficient in reading and math when compared to the international standard of about 32 percent.

In the report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce advises states to begin improvement by bettering the quality of the academic data on their students so they know where to begin making adjustments. The report also noted that states that had extra programs to train students outside of the classroom scored markedly higher.

AHS Academy of Future Educators (AFE) and the AP Ambassadors are two extra programs on campus that offer help on campus to students who are preparing for AP Exams or improving their academic skills.

“The services AFE offers include tutoring students and helping them achieve their very best. If someone is looking for private tutoring or is in the classes we go to, we help them learn vital study skills,” AFE President Sania Luna said.

The report took three factors into consideration. The first factor is the state’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test results in comparison to international benchmark results. The second factor is the passing rate on STEM AP exams and the third is the state’s results on Foreign Language AP exams. The evaluation found that California has the highest passing rates in the country on Foreign Language exams with a rate of nine percent, while the national average is three percent. However, California’s pass rate in math and reading proficiency are both below 25 percent and a 12.5 percent passing rate for STEM tests.

“I feel like there are enough science and math classes at school. They have great teachers that teach their students well. However, there are not enough technology classes. Year after year, technology evolves and we need to keep up with that. The available technology classes could be improved by presenting and teaching up to date material to students and more complex technological sciences,” junior Brendan Poon said.

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