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Schools in southwest Missouri are assessing ACT scores following an annual report released this week. KSMU’s Scott Harvey breaks down some of the numbers.
For Nixa Public Schools, whose composite score of 23.3 is the second highest in their history; the 2013 ACT figures represent another climb in college readiness, according to Clay Hanna, the district’s executive director of Secondary Education.
“We don’t have a set percentage as far as goals on the ACT, we just want to continually try to improve upon what we’ve done before,” Hanna said.
In Joplin, however, High School Principal Dr. Kerry Sachetta admits they’d like to be above the national and state composite average. But at 21.1, a slight drop from the previous year, the district failed to surpass the 21.6 average in Missouri. With English (20.9) and mathematics (19.6) the two lowest scores for Joplin High School test-takers, Sachetta says more focus needs to be placed on preparation.
“We’re gonna actually give them a released exam and then let them take it. And then bring somebody in the next day and then go over all the test items. And talk about why some kids may have picked certain questions versus others, and then help them study again the week before the exam with test-taking strategies,” Dr. Sachetta said.
He says the district may also consider doing more individual or group counseling to help.
Sachetta also expressed disappointment in statewide figures that show 24 percent of ATC-tested students met no benchmarks of any of the four exam portions.
“What that’s saying is that of the kids that are going to college too, a significant portion of 'em are gonna have to take remedial classes in college, or that when they get to college they’re gonna end up in tutoring labs and they’re not gonna be quite ready for college-level work.”
Only 28 percent of the state’s test-takers met all four benchmarks, which is a percentage increase from last year. A benchmark is the minimum ACT score a student needs, which shows they have a 75 percent chance of receiving a C grade or higher in the corresponding college course.
Of the 271 Joplin students to take the ACT, 52 percent scored above the national average, compared to 72 percent at both Nixa and Bolivar schools. Those two schools, as well as Springfield, Ozark, Branson and West Plains were among other area districts to receive a higher composite score than the national and state average.
See a complete breakdown of ACT scores throughout Missouri.