Westside ACT Scores 1.4 Points Higher Than State Average
Posted October 30, 2018
The following is a message from Dr. Mark Weichel, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning
While we certainly pay close attention to test scores and want to provide our students the best possible options for what they choose to do after high school, testing results do not define who we are. They are simply one measure we use to determine how we are doing, where we can celebrate, and where we can improve. The local assessments and assessments made in our collaborative teams are the ones that provide us with the best, most up-to-date, information on how our students are progressing.
Typically, at this time of the school year, we are able to share various results on how our students performed on the annual state assessment. This year it is later than normal because of the many changes that have taken place. Two years ago, we began using an entirely new English Language Arts test and system that evaluates college and career readiness as opposed to minimum proficiency. In just this last year, we have a new math test, new cut scores, new ways of measuring how well we are doing in math and English, new approved state standards in science, and new timelines for receiving our results.
Because of these changes, we won’t receive all of our NSCAS results until December 21st when we will learn how our 3rd through 8th grade and 11th grade students performed on their state Math, English Language Arts, and Science tests. While we are waiting for these testing results, we, along with the other districts across the state, just received our 2018 graduating class ACT results. These results are different from our 2017 state assessment data in that the graduating class ACT results represent the composite score from our students’ most recent attempt on the exam, and the state assessment data represents the scores from the specific date when all third-year cohort students took the exam.
This is the first class across the state where all students were required to take the ACT as their state test, which added students to the profile who had not previously taken the exam. As a point of comparison, in 2014, 353 students (80% of the graduating class) took the ACT exam while this year this number was 466 students (99% of the graduating class). That is more than 100 additional students!
With almost all students taking the test, the state average composite went from 21.2 in 2017 to 20.1 in 2018 (-1.3). At the same time, the district composite went from 22.2 for the class of 2017 to 21.5 for the class of 2018 (-.7). In 2017, we were .8 points above the state average, and even though our composite decreased in 2018, we were 1.4 points above the state average.
While we are always looking to get better, it is a point of celebration to see our district’s distance from the overall composite state average in overall ACT widen. Also, it is important to note that seeing students being successful at the high school level like this is a result of everyone’s hard work. Students don’t just “get it” at the high school level independently of what occurred in the years’ prior. Without strong elementary, middle, and high school programs and outstanding educators and support staff, continued success for our graduates would not occur.