Results of the 2012-13 ACT college preparedness test for test takers in the Roswell Independent School District show that the average score of [auth] district test takers rose in the 2012-13 school year. However, district test takers on average lagged behind students statewide in college preparedness.
Only scores of district students who identified themselves as part of the 2013 graduating class were analyzed by ACT. The curriculum-based test tests students on English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology. It is voluntary in the district and students or their families must pay to take it.
Colleges may use the test as a factor in admitting students to programs.
Deputy Secretary of the state Department of Education Leighann Lenti said, “For us, it’s really focusing on making sure students are graduating college ready.”
ACT’s analysis of results became available to districts in August. Results for RISD test takers were presented at the district Board of Education meeting Tuesday.
The average composite score of district students was 19.9, the same as the state averages in 2011-12 and 2012-13. The district average in 2011-12 was 19.6. The highest composite score possible on the ACT is 36.
Compared to students across the state, a lower percentage of district test takers received high enough scores across all four areas tested by the ACT to be considered prepared for college-level coursework.
Of district students, 17 percent received high enough scores in each category to be considered college ready. Nineteen percent of students in the state received high enough scores to be considered college ready in all four categories.
Performance on the ACT also varied among high schools in the district. Test takers from Goddard High School performed better in each category tested than test takers at Roswell and alternative high school University High.
Ed Colby, spokesperson for ACT, cautions that “ACT scores are not designed to evaluate a high school per se.” He notes that without 100 percent participation in the test, overall district performance cannot be evaluated.
Colby also said that it is difficult to compare the performance of students at different schools because statistics are influenced by how many students take the test.
Only five students at University High took the test last year. At Goddard, 159 took the test. At Roswell, 83 tested.
Superintendent Tom Burris said one factor in differences in scores between Goddard and Roswell is students’ attendance records.
He gave as an example attendance records for Wednesday, Oct. 9. On that day, 90 students were absent at Goddard and 206 were absent from Roswell. Roswell High has about 250 more students than Goddard, according to district counts.
“If a student missed a class over 10 times, chances of performing at a proficient level in that content were greatly reduced,” said Burris.
Burris also noted that Goddard has offered free ACT preparation classes to its students in the past, which may increase test participation among students. He said that Roswell High is working on offering an ACT preparation course to its students.
Colby said that a study conducted by the ACT showed no significant impact of test preparation on ACT scores. He attributed the findings to the ACT being based on the typical curriculum of United States high schools.
District 2012-13 ACT statistics
Data from ACT testing company
Number of students tested, 2012-13:
Roswell Independent School District: 247
Goddard High School: 159
Roswell High School: 83
University High School: 5
Average ACT composite scores, 2012-13
Percent of ACT-tested students ready for college-level coursework, by ACT section
Minimum scores to be considered ready for college-level coursework
English Composition: 18
Social Science: 22
Percentages of students deemed ready
Social science: 38%
Meeting minimum scores in all four categories: 19%
Social science: 35%
All four: 17%
Social science: 37%
All four: 20%
Social science: 33%
All four: 12%
Social science: 0%
All four: 0%