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ACT scores show improvement

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LaRue results defy state trend

The composite ACT score for 2010 Kentucky high school juniors remained stable from the score recorded a year ago.

LaRue County Schools, however, showed a stark improvement in some areas of the college readiness test.

The results released last week are from tests that all Kentucky high school juniors took last spring. It was the third year in a row for LaRue County juniors to take the now-required ACT. Results were shared during the Aug. 16 school board meeting.

Instructional Supervisor Amanda Reed said, “We are very proud of the results,” which show tremendous growth for the district.

LCHS juniors scored 18.8 in English, which is up 1.4 from last year and 1.0 above the state average; 19.4 in mathematics, which is up 1.0 from last year and 1.1 above the state average; 19.9 in reading, which is up 1.4 from last year and 1.0 above the state average; 19.1 in science, which is unchanged from last year but 0.4 above the state average; and had a composite score of 19.4, which is up 1.0 from last year and 0.9 above the state average.

The maximum score on the ACT is 36.

Out of 228 high schools in Kentucky, LCHS ranked 46 in composite (80th percentile); 52 in English (77th percentile); 32 in math (86th percentile); 39 in reading (83rd percentile); and 71 in science (69th percentile).

Reed said science was an area where teachers focused their attention this summer. They studied the ACT science standards in-depth and decided where they fit into their coursework. The ACT assesses English, math and reading in a manner that is similar to other assessments students take.

“Science is different,” Reed said. “For science, it’s not really about content knowledge; it’s more about testing how well you can ‘think like a scientist.’”

The national ACT benchmarks are 18 in English, 22 in math, 21 in reading and 24 in science. The numbers are a predictor of success in entry-level college coursework, she said. The numbers differ slightly from state benchmarks.

The percentage of LCHS juniors who attained those scores are 56.1 percent in English, which ranks 56th in the state; 28.7 percent in math, which ranks 39th in the state; 48.5 percent in reading, which ranks 25th in the state; and 18.7 in science, which ranks 47th in the state.

The percentage of LCHS juniors who met the state benchmarks is: 56 percent in English, 47 percent in math and 56 percent in reading.

Among area schools, LaRue County juniors ranked fourth in English, which is up six spots from last year; third in math, up five spots; second in reading, up seven spots; seventh in science, down four from last year, but only one tenth of a point behind three schools; and ranked third in composite, up six spots from last year.

Reed said LCHS would continue utilizing testGEAR, which is a program available to all students through the internet that provides practice tests, tutorials and test-taking strategies. She said the implementation of the laptops would allow students more access to testGEAR.

In addition, the EXPLORE test will continue to be given to eighth graders and the PLAN to 10th graders to prepare them for the ACT.

LCHS Principal Paul Mullins said this positive result is a direct result of having a “quality staff who all works together as a team” to ensure the students are on the right track.

Editor Linda Ireland contributed to this story.