Thursday, July 24, 2014

Districts on ACT scores: ‘We’re behind in every category’

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 11/8/2013

RICHMOND — There’s just no excuse for it, Tom Horstick said.

The 2013 ACT scores for Central Heights were the lowest scores in the past five years, Horstick, Central Heights High School principal, said.

RICHMOND — There’s just no excuse for it, Tom Horstick said.

The 2013 ACT scores for Central Heights were the lowest scores in the past five years, Horstick, Central Heights High School principal, said.

“We’re behind in every category,” he said. “I’m not making excuses. We’ve put a class in and had it going for about three years to address the ACT scores in that way because, for a kid going to college, this is what means the most, more than any other state assessment.”

 In 2013, 34 students took the ACTs, he said. The school’s average ACT score was 19.8, while the state average was 21.8. Broken out into categories, the average student score in math was 19.3, while the state average was 21.7. In English, the student average was 19.1, while the state average was 21.2. For reading, the student average was 20.3, and the state average was 22.3. In science, the student average was 20, and the state average was 21.7.

“In 2009, we were above state average in everything, but we weren’t last year,” Horstick said. “We have our work cut out. We need to do better, and I’ve talked to staff about that and hopefully we get [ACT scores] back up.”

In an effort to help students better prepare for the ACTs, Central Heights High School has started offering an ACT prep class, Horstick said.

“[It’s our] third year offering the ACT prep class,” he said. “We’re trying to keep track of kids in that [ACT prep] class and do a study to see if it’s helped those kids in particular [on the ACT] to see where they’re at.”

The ACT scores from 2012 were a little better with a composite score of 20.8, compared to the state average of 21.9. Student scores in English of 19.9 compared to the state average of 21.3. The student average in math was 19.5 with a state average of 21.8. The student average in reading was 21.5 with a state average of 22.3, and science with a student average of 21.6 and a state average of 21.7.

West Franklin

ACT scores at West Franklin High School also were below the state average, Dotson Bradbury, superintendent, said.

The composite score for the 25 students at West Franklin who took the ACTs was 20.2, compared to the state average of 21.8. Average student scores in each ACT category were only trailing a few points behind the state average for each category. The average student score in English was 19.2, while the state average was 21.2. The student average for math was 20, with the state average being 21.7. The student average in reading was 20.4, with a state average of 22.3. The student average for science was 20.1, with a state average of 21.7.

“Part of the problem is that we had kids who took the ACT that probably aren’t going to go on to college,” Bradbury said. “Somebody probably told them to take [the ACT] and the reality is that those kids probably are going to go into a career and tech education program or right to work.”

Unlike Central Heights, West Franklin does not offer an ACT prep class, Bradbury said, but rather relies on the advanced placement courses to ready students.

“We find those who take the advanced math and science classes and who take college prep English do far better [on the ACT] than those who don’t take those courses, and obviously those going to a university take those [advanced] courses and those who are not, don’t take those courses.”

The composite ACT score and student averages for each ACT category from 2012 for West Franklin were all slightly higher than the state average, Bradbury said.

In 2012, 33 students took the ACT with a composite score of 22.2, compared to the state average of 21.9. In English, the student average was 20.6, with a state average of 21.3. In math, the student average was 21.9, slightly higher than the state average of 21.8. In science, the student average was 22.8, with a state average of 21.7. The student average for reading was 22.6, with a state average of 22.3.

Wellsville

One year after scoring higher than the state ACT composite score average, Wellsville High School’s test scores dropped below the state average in 2013. Wellsville, which saw 29 students take the ACT this year, averaged a 20.8 on its composite score, compared to the state average of 21.8. In 2012, 35 students took the test and had a composite score of 22.3, which was above the state average of 21.9.

Wellsville Superintendent Jerry Henn said this year’s score is slightly down from the school’s five-year average on the ACT, which is 21.2.

“It is hard to compare,” Henn said. “What we are trying to do is improve our program so our students are prepared for the ACT.”

This year’s composite score is the second lowest it has been in the past five years at Wellsville, which had a 20.4 composite in 2011. Henn is optimistic that students will be prepared for the test, he said.

“We are not that far off,” Henn said. “Our science is pretty good and our math is not bad.”

Wellsville’s highest score this year was in science, where the students matched the state average of 21.7. The student average for math was 20.8, compared to the state average of 21.7. In reading, students averaged a score of 21.2, compared to a 22.3 state average. The lowest score for Wellsville came in English, where students scored a 19, compared to the state average of 21.2.

In 2012, Wellsville scored higher than the state average in three of the four criteria. Students averaged 23.1 in science, compared to the state average of 21.7. Students averaged 22.5, compared to the state average of 22.3 in reading. They also scored higher than the state average in English, with a 21.5 average, compared to a state average of 21.3. Mathematics was the only category where Wellsville did not score over the state average. Students averaged a 21.7 score, compared to a 21.8 state average.

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