Archive for Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tonganoxie ACT scores dip slightly

Local scores below state, above national

August 31, 2005

Tonganoxie High School's average composite ACT score took a slight dip last year.

And though the school's score of 21.2 was lower than the state average of 21.7, Tonganoxie still topped the national average of 20.9 for the 2004-2005 school year. In fact, Tonganoxie's average composite ACT score has beat the national average for the last four years.

THS principal Tatia Shelton, who is starting her second year at THS, said she'd like for her students' average score to rank above the state average, as well.

In recent years the high school has offered ACT test preparation classes.

The classes, which usually begin four weeks before the ACT tests are given, meet one evening a week. The classes are voluntary.

"We advertise it as much as possible," Shelton said. "I know the teachers really encourage the kids. We send that information out to parents and let them know it's available."

But, Shelton said, the school can't force students to attend these sessions.

"And a lot of times kids just decide at the last minute that, hey I want to go to college and I want to take my ACT," Shelton said.

In order for students to attend one of the six Kansas four-year public colleges, the students must have at least a 2.0 grade-point average in their core classes, rank in the top third of their class or have an ACT score of 21 or higher, Shelton said.

And, Shelton said, aside from being important in college admissions, good ACT scores help students land scholarships.

Shelton said that during the 2004-2005 school year, 67 THS students took the ACT.

"Our strongest area was reading, and it's well below the state's average," Shelton said.

In reading, THS students averaged 21.3 while the state's reading average was 22.1, and the national score averaged 21.3.

Individually, the highest possible ACT score is 36. Shelton said the school's highest scorer in the 2004-2005 school year netted a 32.

During the 2004-2005 school year, composite scores of THS students who had taken the core classes averaged 21.3, and non-core students averaged 20.8. During the prior year, the 2003-2004 school year, the core students averaged 21.8, compared to the 19 non-core students.

Kathy Walker, THS counselor, said the core classes consist of four years of English, three years of science, three years of math, including algebra 1 and 2, geometry and core students are strongly encouraged to take another higher level math class; three units of social studies, including U.S. history, American government, world history and a choice of civics, psychology or economy, depending on what courses are offered in a high school. And, core students complete a full year of computer technology classes.

While some students take the ACT during their junior year, Shelton said the official test results don't specify whether the tests were taken by juniors or seniors.

In McLouth, the average 2004-2005 composite ACT scores came in at 21.6, the same as the previous year. This compares to the state's current average composite of 21.7, said MHS principal John Hamon.

"I think we did have a larger percentage (of seniors) that took the test last year, which was good," Hamon said.

He noted that of the 43 McLouth 2005 grads, 29 took the ACT. About 10 more students took the ACT during the 2004-2005 school year than during the 2003-2004 school year, Hamon said.

"We try to push them to at least take it," Hamon said.

As in Tonganoxie, McLouth's strongest score was in reading, which came in at 23.1, compared to the state average of 22.1.

McLouth students averaged 21.4 in English, 20.1 in math, and 21.4 in science.

MHS doesn't offer ACT preparation classes, Hamon said.

"It was a good group of seniors," Hamon said. "I'm happy that the scores stayed where they are with the larger percentage of the kids taking the test."

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