Callaway educators see ACT scores as need to do better

While the average composite ACT score improved for three of Callaway County’s school districts in 2012, administrators all said they still see a need to do better.

According to data on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website, Fulton went up from an average score of 21.4 in 2011 to 21.8; North Callaway dropped from 20.8 to 20.4; South Callaway bumped up slightly from 20.8 to 20.9. New Bloomfield saw the greatest improvement, going from 19.9 to 21.7. The state and national averages held steady at 21.6 and 21.1 respectively.

Fulton Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Hull said the district is always pleased to see an increase in its average score, but noted comparing one year’s set of students to another is “like comparing apples to oranges.”

Fulton’s scores have remained fairly steady over the past five years, with scores ranging between 21.3 in 2008 and this year’s 21.8. The number of Fulton students taking the test also has gone up, with 71.2 percent of graduates taking the test in 2012 compared to 69.38 percent in 2011, and an even bigger jump from 56.10 percent in 2008.

Hull said the district uses those scores to determine how effective its classes are at the high school level in preparing students for tests like the ACT and for continuing education.

“One thing we’ve looked at and are always discussing is our sequence of courses ... which seems to do pretty well,” she said, noting administrators are constantly re-evaluating its classes in hopes of helping students perform better.

North Callaway Assistant Superintendent Sandy Haskins said her district also looks at ACT scores as an assessment tool.

“We look at (our score) as a need to work harder. We need to get kids taking more upper-level courses to get ready,” Haskins said. “We want to do better. To do that, we need to make sure our upper-level courses are rigorous enough.”

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