Governor Stresses Accountability
College readiness, as measured by
average ACT score, and higher education degree completion rates are among the online performance benchmarks that comprise the new Michigan Dashboard unveiled by Gov. Rick Snyder in last night’s State of the State address. Snyder also participated in an hour-long conversation last week with Michigan’s public university presidents, which Les Wong described as a “positive, candid” meeting.
A dashboard chart shows Michigan's average ACT score was higher than the national average, but dropped from 21.5 to 19.6 after it became a requirement for all Michigan 11th graders to take the test effective in the spring of 2007. It has improved incrementally since then, but ranked 46th among states last year. Only 47 percent of high school graduates nationwide took the test in 2010.
The ACT matters, according to the dashboard, because it “assesses high school students’ general educational development and their capability to complete college-level work. Students meeting benchmarks on the ACT tests have a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses.”
Another chart shows Michigan ranked 36th in the most recent data on the percentage of state residents who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. The national average is nearly 28 percent; Michigan’s is closer to 25 percent. The accompanying text reads, “College graduation is one measure of the success of our post-secondary education system. High college enrollment and the number of students receiving degrees contribute to the quality of the state’s workforce.”
Snyder’s only direct reference to higher education in the State of the State was a partnership between Proctor & Gamble and the University Research Corridor institutions of Wayne State, Michigan State and the University of Michigan.
“It’s groundbreaking,” Snyder said. “It’s a collaboration that will speed innovative ideas to the marketplace by simplifying the legal process communities and universities use to negotiate research projects. It will also provide opportunities for Michigan students to gain firsthand exposure to large companies and the real business world, while exposing these companies to top talent and potential future employees. Once this program is up and running at the URC institutions, it will be extended to all public universities across our state.”
Snyder issued four challenges to university presidents during their Jan. 12 meeting: turn out even more highly qualified graduates and guide them into fields where work is readily available in Michigan; work to keep more of those graduates in Michigan by helping to recreate urban areas and encouraging entrepreneurism; be partners in economic development and job creation; and help state government access the knowledge base of universities to solve state problems.
The governor expressed the need for more investment in higher education once the state budget deficit is addressed. NMU President Les Wong said, “There is no doubt Michigan's universities will have to share in dealing with the state budget in the short term, but I believe the governor is putting together a long-term strategy that will be better for higher education in the long term."
Wong added that NMU welcomed the governor's emphasis on results "because we've always been a results-oriented campus."
For more information on the Michigan Dashboard, click here.