U46’s ACT scores dip as national test makes changes in whose scores count
By Emily McFarlan Miller email@example.com September 3, 2013 4:26PM
Updated: October 5, 2013 6:12AM
ELGIN — School District U46 graduates’ scores dipped only slightly this year, holding fairly steady even as the college entrance exam made a change to the scores that it includes in that average.
The average composite score for U46 juniors who took the ACT last spring, then graduated at the start of this summer, was 19.4 out of a possible 36, down from 19.5 last year.
That comes as ACT for the first time included in its averages scores earned by students who needed extended time to complete the test.
“We remain focused on holding our students to the highest academic standards and preparing every student to succeed in college and the workplace,” U46 Superintendent José Torres said in a written statement from the second-largest school district in Illinois.
U46’s composite score is down from a five-year high of 19.9 in 2011, according to the 2013 district report from ACT.
It also continues to trail behind the state average of 20.6, the report said. (That number actually would have increased to 21.1 without the change in figuring those averages this year, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.)
The statewide composite score also fell this year, from 20.9 where it had held steady in 2011 and 2012. That still is the second-highest score earned by the nine states that test all juniors, according to ISBE.
The national average is 20.9 — or 21, if not for the change this year, it said. Most states test only those students who plan to attend college.
“Illinois has been a leader in promoting college and career readiness since requiring 11th-grade students to take the ACT as part of the PSAE (Prairie State Achievement Exam) more than 10 years ago,” State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch said in a written statement from ISBE.
“The Class of 2013’s composite score reflects a larger pool of students than previous years by including those who require additional time to complete the exam. Just as we require universal testing, we applaud ACT’s move to include these time-extended score results to help promote high standards and college readiness for everyone.”
English score up
While U46 composite scores dipped in the math, science and reading sections of the test this year, they were up slightly in English, inching from 18.5 to 18.6, according to the report. ACT considers an 18 to be college-ready in English.
“I’m pleased that across the district, our students showed gains on their ACT English scores. As higher learning standards are implemented nationwide, U46 will continue to provide a robust, challenging curriculum that helps our students excel,” Torres said.
Last month, nearby Community Unit School District 300 announced a composite score of 20.9, and St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 announced a score of 23.7. Both of those scores had been adjusted to exclude scores earned by students who needed extended time.
U46 did not release similarly adjusted scores.