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More students take, score better on ACT

8/28/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

More 2012 Kansas graduates took the ACT college entrance exam than those from the class of 2011.

The number of graduates taking the test, 23,907, increased slightly to 81 percent, up 2 percent from 2011, according to the Kansas State Department of Education.

Statewide the average composite score was 21.9, down a tenth of a percent from 2011.

Numbers of local graduates taking the exam remained consistent, but some composite scores varied.

A total of 71 percent of the Thomas More Prep-Marian High School students took the test, said Kathy Taylor, the school's counselor.

Ninety-five to 100 percent of the school's students take an assessment exam, but not all take the ACT, she said.

"The day students tend to take the ACT, and international students the SAT."

TMP-Marian's composite score for the ACT showed a slight increase to 24.83, up from 24.76 in 2011.

"It's been steady, and gone up a small amount each year," Taylor said. "We don't want to overemphasize testing, but kids need them to get into schools."

At Hays High School 80 percent of the graduating class, or 161 students, took the test, said Mike Hester, Hays High principal.

Just 123 Hays High students took the exam in 2011.

Hays High students' composite score was 22.5.

"That's the same as last year," Hester said. "It's above the state and national average. We tied the second highest we've ever had. We're very pleased."

Fewer students at Ellis High School, 23, took the exam in 2012 than in 2011 when 38 students completed the exam. However, at 92 percent of the class, it was a higher percentage than in the past, said Corey Burton, EHS principal.

The number has been approximately 90 percent.

"We encourage as many as we can to take the assessment each year," Burton said. "A large number of our students go on to secondary education."

Ellis High students' composite score decreased by 0.9 to 20.3 in 2012, compared to 21.2 in 2011.

Burton said the school was incorporating more ACT preparation time in seminar class.

Because of added interest in allied health and business courses, the school also has added an anatomy and physiology class and personal finance and business class this year.

Seventeen Victoria High School took the 2012 assessment, said Kori Braun, VHS counselor.

A total of 20 students took the test in 2011, but the 2012 class was smaller.

The school's composite score has been averaging around 21, and this year it was 21.1.

Braun said in an email she hopes the common core curriculum will be better aligned with the ACT.

"It would be wonderful if the two were aligned, so that in succeeding and doing well on one, the student would also be well prepared to do as well on the other."