Area ACT scores hold steady |

Area ACT scores hold steady

Kelley Cox Post Independent

ACT scores for high school juniors in Garfield County changed very little compared to last year and remain on par with the state average, according to April 2012 testing results recently released by the Colorado Department of Education.

Colorado is one of only about a half dozen states that require the American College Tests (ACT) for all 11th grade students at public high schools.

Many students retake the test on their own when they become seniors, because ACT scores are commonly used for college admission purposes.

“It is an important index for our kids, and gives us a nice look to see where they are as juniors and what they need to improve on in their final year of high school,” Roaring Fork School District Re-1 interim Superintendent Diana Sirko said.

“Most students do take the tests again in the fall of their senior year, after they’ve done a little more prep work. Then they can submit the best score,” Sirko said of college-bound students.

The ACT measures competence in English, math, science and reading, similar to the state assessments for younger students.

Statewide, average ACT composite scores increased slightly from 19.9 in 2011 to 20 this year. That’s slightly below the national average of 21.1.

The highest possible composite or individual test score is 36.

Scores for high school juniors in Re-1 slipped some this year, from an average composite of 19.8 in 2011 to 19.2 for 2012.

Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork (Carbondale) high school student scores remained about the same from the previous year, at 20.5 and 17.4, respectively.

Garfield District Re-2’s combined average, including Coal Ridge and Rifle high schools, dropped slightly from 18.7 to 18.1.

Grand Valley High School saw its junior test scores fall from 18.1 in 2011 to 17.3 this year.

Within the four subject areas, most fluctuations from last year to this year were within one percentage point.

While the composite and subject-area scores for all students typically range from 16 to 20, scores for some individual students locally can climb into the 30s, Glenwood Springs High School counselor Wade Lewis said.

“The trend for the last five or six years has been fairly static,” Lewis said. “It is promising to see that we saw some improvement in areas.”

Math scores for GSHS juniors increased slightly, from 20.2 to 20.8. Statewide, math scores were down.

Lewis said for individual students, it takes a composite score in the range of 21.6 to get into most public colleges and universities in Colorado. Some of the more prestigious private universities require ACT scores of 30 or higher, he said.

“We had nine students who scored 30 or above on some of the April tests,” Lewis said. One student scored a 35 on the English test, he said.

Lewis said students start preparing for the ACTs when they’re sophomores, including a practice ACT test.

“That preparation is really important when they get to be juniors,” he said.

One change that’s coming with Colorado’s transition to new standards is that the state assessments are to be given through 11th grade starting in 2014.

The state assessments, now known as TCAP, are given to students in grades three through 10.

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