DISTRICT SEES TEST SCORES RISE, DESPITE CHANGING STATE GUIDELINES
Most Midwesterners are aware of the ACT college assessment. This is one of the more common tests used to determine the college and career readiness (CCR) of graduating high school students. However, the ACT is just one of several exams used to gauge the CCR of students. Other assessments include the SAT, the ASVAB, and the COMPASS.
The Fox C-6 district has always encouraged students to take the assessment that best fits their individual college and career goals. For example, a student entering the military right after high school is best suited to take the ASVAB, and students entering a two-year program, like many who graduate from the district’s two A+ high schools, are best suited for the COMPASS test.
When the state released the guidelines for the fifth iteration of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 5), it reflected the Fox C-6 philosophy of encouraging students to take the test that best fits his/her needs. According to MSIP 5, the state uses information from multiple assessments--the ACT, SAT, COMPASS, and ASVAB--to assess the accountability and accreditation of a school district. It does not utilize a single composite score from any one test, including the ACT, to assess a school district’s accreditation. Since the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education lists ACT composite scores on its district report cards, many assume this is the only test that matters, but that is not the case.
The state originally had plans to institute two exit exams (math and language arts) for high school students as a way to determine benchmarks for student comprehension in those areas. Those tests were never intended to replace or supplement the information gathered by MSIP 5 for accreditation purposes. In January 2014, however, the MO State Board of Education decided to utilize the information from a single test—the ACT-- to compare and track the CCR of students in math and language arts. This move allows the state to save money by not having to develop separate tests. Though the state will now require all high school juniors to take the ACT, it does not emphasize the ACT as the premier test for determining CCR. The Fox C-6 district mirrors the state’s philosophy in that it encourages students to take the assessment that will further their individual learning and career goals, rather than emphasizing a single test.
Since the state is now requiring all juniors to take the ACT, juniors will have the opportunity to sign up for a state scheduled testing date that will be at no cost to the student or families. Missouri's first statewide ACT administration for juniors at no cost to them is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, 2015, with a makeup test date of Tuesday, May 12, 2015.
Last year, approximately 63% of Fox C-6 seniors took the ACT. The average composite score based on the last time a student took the test is up 3/10ths to 22.6. Not only has the overall composite been on the rise, but the number of students qualifying for Bright Flight has increased over the past three years. The Bright Flight scholarship requires a student to earn a composite score of 31 or greater on the ACT. In 2014, 52 students qualified for this scholarship, up from 2012 (36) and 2013 (27). To score that high on the ACT places a student in the 97th percentile, meaning that score is higher than 97 percent of the students taking that exam.
For more information and resources related to the district’s college and career readiness efforts, please visit the CCR website by clicking here.
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