BLHS ACT scores show more students ready for college, officials say
Basehor-Linwood High School administrators presented a deeper look at the school's improvements on ACT test scores in 2011 at Monday's Basehor-Linwood school board meeting, saying that students were proving themselves more ready for college and that the higher scores were linked to tougher classes for students.
BLHS counselor Nancy Silverforb told board members that the BLHS class of 2011 improved over the previous year's class in all areas of the test, even as a higher percentage of students took the college entrance exam than did the year before.
“Our overall results are showing that we have stopped that downward trend that was worrying us a year ago,” Silverforb said.
The district announced last month that its average composite ACT score had risen by more than a full point to 22.3 out of 36 possible points, outpacing the Kansas average of 22.0.
Silverforb said 108 out of 135 2011 BLHS graduates, 80 percent of the class, took the ACT, compared with 74 percent of the class of 2010.
Beyond earning a higher average score than the previous class, Silverforb said, the class of 2011 also proved that more of its students were prepared for college. In 2010, 19 percent of the graduating class met college readiness benchmarks on all four areas of the ACT: English, math, reading and science. For the class of 2011, that number improved to 30 percent, with a similar improvement in each individual area.
College readiness benchmarks are scores set by the ACT organization in each subject area at which students should have a 50 percent chance to earn a “B” grade, or a 75 percent chance of earning a “C,” in a related college course.
BLHS principal Sherry Reeves said some additional data showed that students' choice of curriculum played a big role in preparing them for the ACT.
Students who followed the school's most rigorous curriculum schedule — the Kansas Board of Regents State Scholar curriculum — earned an average composite score of 24.1, she said. Students who took only the courses necessary to qualify for admission to the Board of Regents schools earned an average composite of 20.6, and students who took a basic diploma curriculum scored an average of 16.6.
Reeves said that the addition of new honors courses and high numbers of students enrolling in those courses would help the school continue to improve its scores in future years.
“We're not done,” Reeves said. “We're going after some of the other schools.”
The ACT data also includes career choice survey results that give the school an idea which paths its students might take, Reeves said. For the fourth year in a row, more students said they planned on pursuing a career in health science or technology than any other area — 27 percent of students who took the test.
Also on Monday, the school board:
• Heard an update on 2011-2012 enrollment numbers from assistant superintendent Mike Boyd. According to Boyd's latest figures, enrollment around the district has increased by 62 students from the previous year, with 40 more students enrolling in the district's elementary schools and 19 more at BLHS. The largest class district-wide is the eighth grade at Basehor-Linwood Middle School with 174 students, he said, and the smallest is the junior class at BLHS, with 129.
At Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, a large fourth-grade class has forced the school to add a third fourth-grade teacher, superintendent David Howard said. Both current classes have 29 students, he said. The new teacher, Julie Loevenstein, was approved later in the meeting.
The addition of the new classroom meant some students would have to switch teachers during the school year, Howard said, but he guessed that parents would still prefer smaller classrooms. The “unenviable task” of deciding which students will switch will be made by principal Jan Hancock, he said.
• Discussed a new policy and prices for the use of district facilities by outside groups. To see the proposed policies, see the document at left.