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The recent release of ACT results from last year’s high school juniors brought good and bad news for local schools.
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36.
Sixty Williamstown Senior High juniors who took the state mandated test had a composite score of 19.4, up from 18.5 the previous year.
The school’s score is above the state average of 18.2.
“We’re always pleased when we show an increase in our scores,” said Misty Middleton, district instructional supervisor. “But, in no means is that where we want to be. We’re always raising the bar and always want to improve our previous scores.”
Williamstown’s two highest subject scores were 20.4 and 19.7 in science and math, respectively.
The students scored 18.8 in reading and 18.5 in English as well.
Each subject score increased from the 2008 test scores.
“I attribute the scores to our teachers being very cognizant of the national benchmarks and making an awareness of the ACT and the college readiness skills,” Middleton said. “As teachers, we’ve been so CATS focused, that I think we’re finally changing the way we’re looking at things.”
Grant County High School did not fare as well, however more than four times as many students took the test.
The 275 GCHS juniors’ composite score of 17.2 was a point below the state average and a .2 decrease from 2008.
While the math score stayed at 17.4, all other individual subject scores slightly decreased from 2008.
The science and English scores dropped .4 to 17.8 and 15.7, respectively.
The reading score dropped .2 to a 17.4.
“I didn’t like our scores at all,” said Superintendent Michael Hibbett. “We’re not up there where everyone else is. That bothers me a lot.”
“To be fair, (Williamstown) tested 60 kids. We tested more than 200,” he said. “For us, all of our kids who are capable of scoring higher than what they did, have to. But, we are going to have certain group of kids who just are going to struggle with that kind of test, and they’re forced to take it. That’s going to hurt our average no matter what.”
Hibbett, who said he is disappointed that the state mandates juniors take the ACT, met recently with principals and department heads to discuss the test results.
The next step will include the teachers meeting as well in order to plan a strategy to help increase the scores.
In order to improve, Hibbett said more rigor is needed in the classrooms.
“That’s something we’re pushing at the high school and at the middle school, because it really starts there,” he said.
While some students scored 30 on the test, Hibbett said more students have to do better for the composite score to increase.
“We have to learn to do better on it because whether we like it or not people in the community are going to look at it and relate it to whether you’re doing well or not,” he said.
At Williamstown, two sections of a new college preparation course are being offered this school year to help students get ready for the ACT.
Middleton also said several new online classes are available through the Kentucky Virtual High School to help students’ individual needs.
“There’s a lot of good things about being small, but one of the drawbacks is not being able to offer that wide variety you may get at a larger school,” she said. “So, we’re trying to offer it other waysNorthern Kentucky Community Action Commision Grant County, sorts clothes at the center.