Statewide ACT composite scores are down slightly, and LaRue County students followed the trend.
State results from the March 2009 administration of the ACT to Kentucky’s public school juniors show a small improvement in mathematics, but minor drops or flat scores in other subjects, forming a statewide composite of 18.2. The 2008 composite was 18.3.
LaRue County’s composite score was 18.4, down from 18.8 a year ago.
State law now requires that all of Kentucky’s public school juniors now participate in the ACT, which assesses English, reading, mathematics and science and is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. The cost of the exam is paid for by state funds.
The scores were discussed at the LaRue County School Board meeting Monday. Paul Mullins, LaRue County High School principal, and Amanda Reed, assessment coordinator, presented the scores and how the district compared to the state and surrounding districts.
Reed said this was the first year ACT tests were given to all high school juniors – in the past, students took it because they planned to go to college. She said the initial report shows the results of all students in the district who took the ACT, but that a second report would be released sometime next week that will show the results of all graduates.
Mullins said several steps have been implemented to help increase the scores, including use of the program Testgear, which is an Internet-based program that all students who have access to a computer and the Internet can take advantage of.
He said Testgear is an $1,800 investment that appears to be paying off, with ACT scores above the state average for the second year in a row. He said he knows of some districts spending in excess of $30,000-$40,000 on ACT preparation programs and the scores reveal only a few tenths of a point between LCHS and those schools.
Kelly Sandidge, who is in charge of planning the practice tests for LCHS students, said, “Other schools are coming to us for advice,” so he feels like “we’re going in the right direction.”
Board member Norbert Skees said he noticed in a recent article that scores across the state appear to have gone down, but Sandidge said a number of factors can cause changes in scores one way or the other, and that it could be the test itself.