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Local ACT scores below state average

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

In the first round of mandatory ACT testing of all high school juniors, both Henry County Public and Eminence Independent Schools fell below the average state composite score.

Eminence juniors had a composite score of 18.2 and Henry County juniors a composite score of 17.4, compared to the state composite of 18.3.

Henry County Public Schools Superintendent Tim Abrams said that testing the junior class is different from what has been done before with the ACT. He said that for the class of 2008, 76 students took the test, and earned a composite score of 20.2. Each of those students, he said, planned to attend college. That might not be the case when all juniors are tested.

“We didn’t really know what to expect with all (juniors) taking the test,” he said, saying that the results for the first round of mandatory ACT testing will serve as a baseline. He added that the district has done some things to “brush up” students ACT skills.

Abrams also noted that the ACT, while administered to students who might not be interested in college, may push some students forward.

“The bright side is ... (for) kids that normally wouldn’t take the ACT, they maybe scored high, and this will spur them on to (further) education,” he said. “Maybe there’s a lot they could do that they may not have thought they could.”

As always, he said, the district is “on a model of continuous improvement.”

Assistant Superintendent Kricket McClure added the district has done some preparation with students to help them prepare for the test, including test taking strategies.

EIS Superintendent Don Aldridge said there were no surprises in the scores, and added that Eminence was ‘closing the gap’ with the state.

“I really expected them to be good,” Aldridge said of the scores. “We have high expectations, and if (the scores are) not high, we start wondering why.”

He also noted that with such a small student population — just 36 took the test compared to 167 at Henry County High School — even one student’s score can have a major impact.

According to a press release from the Kentucky Department of Education, the ACT developed college readiness benchmarks in four subject areas — English, math, science and reading — “with research indicating that the students who reach the levels have a high probability of earning a C grade or higher” in credit classes at the collegiate level. Those marks include a 18 in English, a 22 in math, a 21 in reading and a 24 in science.

The press release said that just 46 percent of Kentucky juniors met the English benchmark, 20 percent for math, 33 percent for reading and just 15 percent met the science benchmark.

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