ACT scores stay flat at WCHS

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By Jesse Osbourne


Overall ACT scores at Washington County High School stayed flat from 2011 to 2012.

Students in 2011 averaged an 18.5 composite score. Students in 2012 did, as well.
Since the 2008 school year, the high school has improved from a composite score average of 17.9.
The state composite average is 19.
“I was disappointed we did not move upward with our scores as we had done the last two years and remained at 18.5,” Washington County High School Principal Paul Terrell said via email.
Terrell said while some students are doing extremely well, others are underperforming.
“The positive side is we had 72 of our junior class who averaged 22.4 on the test, while negatively, 63 students averaged a 14.6,” he said.
School officials have looked at ways to collectively address the needs of these students.
“Although our ACT composite was ‘flat,’ we also recognize that maintaining scores is a positive, as well,” Superintendent Robin Cochran said via email. “WCHS has seen slow gains over the last several years.”
Reading scores were up from 18.2 to 18.7, but English, math and science all decreased by at least one tenth (see chart).
None of those scores were high enough to match the state average (see chart).
“In terms of looking at specific subjects with the ACT, we were disappointed to see some of the scores drop,” Cochran said.  “Mr. Terrell, WCHS principal, has placed attention on these content areas in regards to staffing changes and the adoption of new textbooks/resources to improve the resources staff and students have access to use.”
“As a district, we are committed to the expectation that all students must be college and career ready when they leave WCHS,” Cochran said. “WCHS has worked diligently to offer students a challenging preparatory course load in order to  prepare students for the ACT assessment.”
Two fairly new programs are starting to take root, as well, she said.
“This is the second year of implementation at WCHS for the AdvancedKY and Commander (Early) College programs,” Cochran said.
Those programs will help increase the ACT scores, she said.
“It is our belief that as these programs will in fact strengthen our core studies and equip students with the knowledge and skills they need in order to be more prepared for the ACT,” she said.
Groundwork is taking place in the middle schools, as well, Cochran said.
“Both middle schools are in the second year of implementation with the Laying the Foundation training and resources,” she said. “This is a pre-Advanced Placement curriculum that will also create a challenging preparatory curriculum leading into high school.”
Terrell said the ACT score is what universities, technical colleges and other post-secondary institutions ask about when they call.
“As the academic leader of the building, I take responsibility for these scores and are looking at ways to improve for 2012-13,” he said.