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Making the grade

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WHS matches scores, GCHS dips slightly

By Bryan Marshall

 

Williamstown High School matched its composite score from last year while Grant County High School dipped slightly in recently released ACT results.

The data is from high school juniors who took the test during the 2012-13 school year. Those students are seniors this year.

Since 2008, state law has mandated all of Kentucky’s public school juniors participate in the ACT, which assesses English, reading, mathematics and science and is scored on a scale of 1 to 36.

At Grant County High School, 264 students took the test and received an average composite score of 18.3, which is slightly done from the 18.7 the group of juniors’ scored two years ago.

“Although our overall composite score fell just .4 away from our score in 2012, we obviously were expecting an increase and were a bit disappointed,” said Grant County Schools Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Wright. “Our goal is to have procedures in place to sustain systemic growth over time.”

In the individual subjects, the GCHS students scored below the state average.

The science and math scores were the highest at 18.8 and 18.5, respectively.

The state averages, however, were 19.5 for science and 18.9 for math.

GCHS scored 18.2 in reading, 1.2 points lower than the state average.

The lowest score came in English where the juniors scored a 17.3, more than a point below the state average of 18.4.

“Our area of concern would be English and reading as they took a .7 drop from the previous year,” Wright said. “The high school is already analyzing the data to determine needs in the classroom. Our English teachers are working to review and revise their classroom assessments and unit structure to ensure they are rigorous and aligned with the College Readiness Standards.”

Since the test results are from a different set of students each year, Wright said it is important to look closely at that group’s data and make decisions about how best to meet their needs individually and as an entire class.   

“Our high school does a great job of looking at student’s PLAN (10th grade assessment) scores, reviewing their MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) data, and considering their class grades to get an idea of where students have strengths and where they may struggle,” Wright said. “Our high school uses all of this data to help determine class schedules as well as having implications for classroom instruction. 

The district has also received a $20,000 grant from AT&T that will specifically target student help on the ACT.  

The money will allow for the purchase of The Real ACT book for every student in 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grades and will be used in the classroom as a way to help prepare students for this test. 

Williamstown

It was deja vu for Williamstown High School as the 56 juniors who took the ACT last year score an identical composite score of 20.8 from the previous year.

The composite is 1.6 points higher than the state average of 19.2.

Using results from the students’ 10th grade PLAN test and the practice ACT, the group was projected to score from 18.7 to 22.9 on the test, said Williamstown Independent Schools Assistant Superintendent Misty Middleton.

“We were pleased with the class of 2014’s performance,” she said. “Their score of 20.8, which equaled that of the class of 2013, put them in the middle of that range. Naturally, we would like for ACT scores to continue to increase every year, but we know, that each year, classes of students are different and have different strengths and weaknesses. By looking at their longitudinal data, we feel we can focus our attention on the needs of students so they can improve their score and meet their goals and we can determine if we are on target to meet college and career readiness benchmarks.”

 All of the individual subject scores for the WHS students were also above state averages.

The science and reading scores were the highest at 21.5 and 21.3, respectively.

The students were two points above the state average in science and 1.9 points above in reading.

The WHS juniors scores 20.4 in math, well above the 18.9 state average score.

The lowest score for the group came in English with a score of 20.

“This class’ English score, although above the state average, declined rather sharply from previous administrations of the ACT,” Middleton said. “This is something we will look at in hopes of assessing the problem and figuring out the next steps. However, the other three subjects rose slightly.”

Williamstown’s smaller size plays a great factor in preparing students to take the ACT, said Middleton.

The staff uses data from the students’ 8th grade EXPLORE test, the 10th grade PLAN test and the practice ACT to build on their strengths and work through their weaknesses.

“Each student receives proper mentoring from staff, so they understand where they are, the areas they need help in, and the plan to help them grow as learners,” Middleton said. “The individual attention our teachers and support staff give students is phenomenal to watch. It is not uncommon to see students staying after school, arriving early, or squeezing in time during lunch to meet with teachers in order to gain a little extra help and a boost of confidence necessary to improve their ACT scores. Students also take active ownership in their role for improving their score because of the school’s focus on individual learning.”