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ACT Scores on par with state average

North and South Summit School Districts administrators are taking cues from their students’ performances on the ACT. While both schools scored at levels roughly on par with the state average, overall state numbers were down for 2012, a reflection of the fact that more students in Utah are taking the test than in past years.

"At the high school, we had a pretty high percentage of kids taking the test," said Russ Hendry, principal for North Summit High School. "It’s the second highest number we’ve had in the last five years."

In the North Summit School District, 66 students in the high school took the test out of 78 graduating seniors. While juniors and sophomores may also account for a portion of students taking the exam, the ACT is intended for graduating seniors.

The North Summit School District composite score, an average of the English, math, reading and science portions of the test, rose from 19.6 in 2011 to 20.5 last year, a composite score just below the state average. The state composite average dropped from 21.8 in 2011 to 20.7 in 2012, a decrease attributed with the fact that an extra 7,500 students took the ACT.

"We’re always trying to improve," Hendry said. "Our next step is to meet the state average and start surpassing that."

"It is going to take some good, old-fashioned hard work to get there," he added, "but teachers are in the classroom making sure students master the content."

According to the ACT website, the test is "a curriculum- and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students’ academic readiness for college," and is available to high school students and used by college admission boards to select in-coming freshmen.

In the South Summit School District, students taking the ACT scored just above the state composite score, hitting 20.9 last year, a 0.1 percent decrease from 2011. South Summit High School Principal Steve Camp attributed the flat scores to an increase in the number of Hispanic students taking the test. Because several Hispanic students in the district are English language learners, the language barrier may have caused the slight dip. But more students took the ACT than in the past five years, totaling 89 students in 2012.

"We are testing more students and still doing pretty good," Camp said. "And that’s been the goal, to improve number of students taking the test."

The South Summit High School plans to implement more test-readiness programs in hopes to give students better habits and skills while taking exams such as the ACT. The program, a test-readiness class that will be offered through the high school, is on track to be implemented in the spring for juniors and sophomores.

"Exposure to the format of this kind of testing is very important," Camp said, "because it allows students to be more comfortable, and that allows students to be more relaxed and successful on the actual test."


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