Thursday, August 16, 2007

ACT Results at LCHS a Hit!

Great Work of LCEA's Teachers
Shows Up in ACT Results

We're Proud to Announce
that LC Scores are
Highest in the City
Test scores improve for local school districts
Dennis Friend, Staff Writer
Council Bluffs Non-Pareil

They may not be the best, but they're not bad.

That's the assessment of area educators after getting a look at the latest ACT scores.

The composite score for the Council Bluffs Community School District remains the same as last year's score, which was an all-time high, said Superintendent Martha Bruckner.

"That's not a fluke, it's a trend," she said.

The composite ACT score at Abraham Lincoln High School was 22.1, while Thomas Jefferson High School's composite was 21.1, leading to the combined 21.7 district composite score.

Lewis Central High School Principal Chuck Story said the 22.5 composite score for Lewis Central seniors was the highest composite score the district has had.

The principal of the St. Albert junior and senior high schools also is happy with the scores logged by her students. Jonna Andersen said the 23.4 composite is up from 22.7 last year.

"In the last four years, we have gone up steadily," Andersen said.

ACT scores are generally regarded as a way to measure student achievement, as well as measure if students are prepared for college-level work. The ACT consists of tests of educational development in English, math, reading and science designed to measure skills needed for success in first-year college coursework.

Iowa's current state average for ACT scores is 22.3, and four-year colleges in both Iowa and Nebraska recommend a minimum score of 21 for admittance.

The scores also are considered a good indicator of a district's success in educating students. The key is to watch a district's multi-year trends. The composite score could rise one year and fall the next, and the number of seniors taking the test may also fluctuate.

A look at the five-year trends showed the Council Bluffs School District composite ranging from 21.1 and 20.8 between 2003 and 2005 before climbing to 21.7 in both 2006 and 2007. Lewis Central held steady at 22.3 between 2003 and 2005, dropped to 22.0 in 2006 and rose to 22.5 in 2007.

Saint Albert recorded ACT composites of 22.9, 21.5, 22.5 and 22.7 between 2003 and 2006 before scoring 23.4 in 2007.

"You look for steady growth in the score and the percentages," Story said. "You want to make sure you give the kids the best possible chance at an education that they can have. I would like the average to be higher, but I'm pleased. We're doing OK."

Officials at each of the districts said an emphasis on a core curriculum is likely to have driven at least some of the improvement, and all said they expect improvement in future years.

"The score has gone up every year in the last four years (at St. Albert), and all our kids take the core curriculum" that includes English, math and science, Anderson said. Both Council Bluffs and Lewis Central officials agree that a core curriculum should leave graduates with a working knowledge of crucial concepts.

District officials and educators also use the numbers to find areas of weakness, and scores can be used to spotlight success.

"The Kanesville score for English was higher than anyone else's," Bruckner said. "It's something for Kanesville students to be proud of."

Story said two Lewis Central students recorded a 33, and nine students scored 30 or more; and more seniors than ever took the test, which is a necessity for students with plans to enter college.

"We tried to get more students to take them," Story said. "We had 189 graduates, and 137 seniors took the test."

In the Council Bluffs district, 221 seniors took the ACTs, and 470 seniors graduated.

Andersen said 44 seniors among St. Albert's graduating class of 52 took the test.

"We stress that they really should take it," she said. "We're pleased."

Iowa scores rise overall

ACT scores for Iowa students rose a fraction of a percentage point this year for an average composite score of 22.3.

Iowa and Wisconsin are tied for second place for the highest average score for states that test at least 50 percent of their graduating seniors. Minnesota is first with 22.5. The national average score for the college admission and placement exam is 21.2 out of a possible 36.

The number of Iowa students taking the test also increased from 22,233 students, or 65 percent of the 2006 graduating class, to 23,016, or 66 percent of the 2007 graduating class.

The composite score for African-American students in Iowa rose to 18.5, compared to the national average of 17. The average composite score for Hispanic students increased to 20.1. The national average is 18.7. The composite score for Iowa's Caucasian students rose to 22.4 and for Asian-American students it rose to 22.7. The score for Native American students stayed the same at 20.5.

- Dennis Friend

The results from ACT's annual score report are complete. The national average ACT composite score rose in 2007 for the third time in the past five years. View complete information about the ACT 2007 College Readiness Report at

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