LaRue juniors pass state ACT average once again

-A A +A

Education column by Ron Benningfield

By Ron Benningfield

LaRue County High School juniors made a “three-peat” last spring when, for the third straight year, the school surpassed the state average on the ACT.


“Credit goes to our staff who have intentionally put strategies in place to expose our students to ACT type questions and to our students and parents who value the importance of the ACT and its role in postsecondary education,” said Paul Mullins, LCHS principal.


This is the third year the college-readiness assessment has been given to high school juniors statewide. The ACT assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science.  


LaRue’s 2010 scores (state average in parentheses):  English 18.8 (17.8); mathematics 19.4 (18.3); reading 19.9 (18.9); science 19.1 (18.7); composite 19.4 (18.5). The national composite score, which includes both public and non-public school test-takers, was 21.0. The maximum attainable score is 36.


“For 2010, we have widened the gap with the state average in everything except for science where we went from 0.6 ahead to 0.4 ahead,” said Amanda Reed, district instructional supervisor and testing coordinator. “In the other areas, you could interpret this as we gained more ground at LCHS than students gained statewide.”


Reed added that the growth on the school’s ACT is consistent with improved performance on other school assessments such as the Kentucky Core Content Test and PLAN (an assessment administered each fall to all Kentucky public school sophomores). The latest ACT composite score places LCHS in the top 20 percent of all high schools in Kentucky.


“I believe this demonstrates we are working hard and are preparing our students for college/vocational/work after they graduate,” Mullins said. “With over 65 percent of our students going to postsecondary education, I believe this reflects well on the students, staff and parents of LaRue County.”


ACT, Inc. developed college readiness benchmarks in English, mathematics, science and reading, with research indicating that students who reach those marks have a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course.


LCHS’s results show 56.1 percent of the juniors taking the 2010 test met or surpassed the benchmark score in English compared to 48.8 percent statewide; math LCHS 28.7 (21.6 statewide); reading LCHS 48.5 percent (35.0); science 18.7 (15.4).


LaRue’s ranking among 228 Kentucky high schools: English 52 (77th percentile); math 32 (86th percentile); reading 39 (83rd percentile); science 71 (69th percentile); composite 46 (80th percentile).  


Compared to 19 other area schools, LCHS subject scores ranked fourth in English, below Elizabethtown (19.8), Central Hardin (19.2), and Glasgow (19.0); third in math behind E’town (20.0) and Central Hardin (19.8); second in reading, behind E’town (21.3); seventh in science, behind E’town (20.6), Barren County (19.8), Central Hardin (19.7), Breckinridge County (19.2), Glasgow (19.2) and John Hardin (19.2); and third in composite behind E’town (20.6) and Central Hardin (19.7).