When Anderson County High School administrators met with juniors last winter, they challenged them to make school history by earning a 19.0 composite average ACT score and beating the state average. The Class of 2013 surpassed those expectations. Not only did they exceed the composite average goal, but they increased the school composite average by 1.3 points to a 19.6, the highest average in school history since all juniors began taking the ACT in 2008.
“We are so proud of our faculty, staff, and the Class of 2013. This tremendous increase in ACT scores means that more of our Bearcat Family has the opportunity to attend college. While not all graduates will attend a 2 year or a 4 year post secondary institution, our goal is for our students to meet the ACT college benchmark scores so they will have that option,” said Mr. Ronnie Fields, ACHS Principal.
The ACHS composite average scores improved from 18.3 in 2011 to 19.6 in 2012, while the state scores improved from 18.8 to 19.0. This marks the third time in five years that ACHS juniors have outscored state averages, but the first since 2009. 16% of ACHS students met all four ACT college readiness benchmarks (English, math, reading, and science) compared to 14% for the state.
In addition to challenging the students, the administration also challenged the faculty to assess their daily activities for rigor and continue to add ACT practice into the regular classroom environment.
"Last year, we purchased new math textbooks and began using Quality Core materials from ACT. Both of these gave us the resources needed to increase the rigor in our classes. We've tried to decrease the amount of time our students spend on drill-type questions and focus on higher level thinking,” said Mrs. Erin Rhody, Math teacher and department chair.
With the state accountability roll-out of Senate Bill 1 last year, there were many changes in high school assessment, including the addition of end of course assessments in English II, US History, Algebra II, and Biology.
“Through the state assessment changes, several of our faculty members went to training in ACT Quality Core for end of course assessment preparation. This training provided teachers with content-specific strategies and rigorous formative assessment pool items to assist them in preparing students for the EOC and also helped with preparation for the ACT,” said Mrs. Bridget Wells, Associate Principal for Curriculum.
Students have had access to ACT Online Prep, an online resource for every ACHS student to utilize for tutorials, diagnostic testing, and ACT practice testing. Additionally, last year, the math and English faculty created a tutorial plan based on PLAN test results, whereby students collaborated in a small setting with teachers one day a week during sustained silent reading time to work on designated areas of growth in those content areas.
“In addition to the tutorials, we were more intentional in our test prep in class last year. We used ACT practice tests and built student confidence with time constraints,” said Mrs. Micki Ray, English teacher.
As a result of a myriad of efforts by students and staff, the Class of 2013 surpassed state averages in every ACT tested category.
“Our faculty and students deserve all the credit. Students participated in tutorials and intervention strategies with faculty members in order to better prepare themselves for the ACT. Our faculty found new ways to reach students at their level and move them forward. We are very proud of the work that occurred last year and look forward to continuing to build upon that success,” said Wells.
ACT scores by the numbers:
ACHS students increased…
* English scores by 2.1 points from 17.3 to a 19.4, a full point above the state average of 18.4.
* Reading scores by 1.7 points from 18.4 to a 20.1, which is 1.1 points ahead of the state average of 19.0.
* Math scores from 18.4 to 18.9 in math, exceeding the state’s 18.8 average.
* Science scores from 18.6 to a 19.4, outscoring the state’s 19.1 average.
* 60% of ACHS students met the college readiness benchmark of 18 or higher in English, a 14% gain from 2011; the 2012 state average is 52%.
* 43% of ACHS students met the college readiness benchmark of 21 or higher in Reading, up from 31 % in 2011, and exceeding current state average of 38%.
* Science had a 6% increase from 15% to 21% in students meeting college readiness benchmark of a 24 or higher, exceeding the state average of 18%.
* Math maintained consistent with the state average. Both ACHS and Kentucky students jumped 2% from 24% meeting ACT college readiness score of 22 or higher to 26%.