Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WCHS class of 2014 ACT test scores lowest of last five years

Class of 2015 scores already showing improvement

J-E News Editor
Each fall the ACT company releases the final data on ACT scores belonging to seniors who graduated the previous May. For Webster County students, those scores continued a downward trend that gave them the lowest overall scores of the last five years, but district officials believe they see a light at the end of the tunnel.

According to data released by ACT, the WCHS Class of 2014 turned in a overall composite score of 17.9 on the college entrance exam, while the average for districts state wide was 19.9. In 2010 district seniors turned in an 18.1 against a 19.4 at the state level.
ACT scores are used to predict how students will fair in college by comparing test results to a series of benchmarks (BM) in the four core curriculum areas (english, math, reading and science). Of the 117 members of the class of 2014, only 11 students (9%) met the BM in every category indicating that they were prepared to perform at a high level in college.
But, according to Rhonda Callaway, the districts new Assessment Coordinator, things are looking up for the current crop of seniors.
“This year’s seniors took their ACTs in March and are already higher than the class before them,” Callaway told the school board on Monday. In fact, those seniors retook the exam in June, but the results from that test are not in yet.
Of the 155 seniors who took the ACTs as juniors, 19 met the benchmarks in all four categories. They also showed considerable improvement shown in each category.
Subject  Students who met BM  
                     2014     2015
English          49       85
Math              19       40
Reading         32       40
Science          19       37

“Over the past two years we’ve looked at this data trying to get a handle on what was working and what wasn’t,” said Board chairman Jeff Pettit. “This year we seem to have hit on something that has worked for this group of seniors. Is there something we can put our finger on?”
The answer was, unfortunately, that it was still too early to tell. But at least this gives the district a starting point.
“I think the most important thing is to know your students and to care enough about student performance to know their needs,” said Superintendent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough.
Moving forward, district officials are paying close attention to in-class performance, trying to identify at risk students. According to Callaway there is a correlation between classroom performance and ACT score.
“When you have students who haven’t performed well or are at risk of dropping out, those have to be looked at early,” said Callaway.

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