Archive for Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Tonganoxie High’s ACT scores increase

September 3, 2003

Mike Bogart is elated.

For the second consecutive year, Tonganoxie High School's ACT composite score has increased.

"We improved by four-tenths of a point to 21.9," said the high school principal, who has worked in administration at THS since 1987.

The higher scores reflect the quality of THS students and staff, Bogart said.

"It's a good class," Bogart said. "We've had a couple good classes back to back here, and we have continued the classroom standards, the workshops in the evenings to help them learn how to take the tests."

This year's score also topped another milestone -- the state average.

"The state average is 21.5," Bogart said. "So we beat it for the first time in about seven or eight years. But the best part is that we've had a continued improvement for the last several years. There was one year that we had an anomaly -- 19.8 -- but it's come back up."

In fact, two years ago, when reporting the 2000-2001 composite score, Bogart told school board members that the school's ACT average had "gone the way of the Dow." This was when Wall Street prices had taken a tumble.

But the past two years have shown improvements for THS. Bogart said 69 THS students took the ACT test in 2003, four more than in 2002. The majority of those who took the test graduated from THS in May.

"So we're pleased," Bogart said. "In comparison to other schools in the area it looks fairly decent. The private schools are going to do a little better, the larger schools have done historically better, but I think that this will probably put us at the top of our league."

The public pays more attention to a school's ACT scores now than they used to, Bogart said.

"Ten years ago, people weren't watching these things as close as they do now," Bogart said. "It wasn't in the newspaper then. I remember Mr. Smith announcing the scores the first day of school and we patted ourselves on the back and it wasn't in the media."

But today, prospective new residents use ACT scores to help decide whether to move to a new school district.

"Yes they do, they use all these test scores for that," Bogart said. "People ask, and we're glad that they do."

Superintendent Richard Erickson said now's the time to raise the bar.

"I truly believe that our students, with the outstanding staff we have and the outstanding students we have, have the capacity of scoring on the average in the 22 to 23 range," Erickson said. "That's been our target and will continue to be our target."

Once there, the school district will be more in line with the Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley and Olathe school districts, Erickson said.

"I'm very pleased with this increase," Erickson added. "It was a significant increase and, hopefully, a sign of some good things to come."

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