The Edmond Sun

Education

August 27, 2010

Edmond area schools’ ACT scores are tops

EDMOND — Three of four Edmond area schools appeared on the list of the eight Oklahoma high schools posting the highest average ACT composite score for 2010, and three of the four tested the largest student populations.

“About three out of four students in the Class of 2010 took the ACT, which means the great majority of Oklahoma high school seniors are interested in attending college,” said State Superintendent Sandy Garrett.

“So, the responsibility of every high school in this state is to make certain they are prepared for college and/or today’s competitive workplace.”

The ACT is graded on a scale of 0-26. Oklahoma’s average composite score is 20.7, with 73 percent of seniors participating; the national average is 21 and a participation rate of just 47 percent.

The scoring excludes the Oklahoma School for Science and Mathematics’ score of 31.4.

Edmond North High School had the highest average ACT score in the state with an overall composite score of 24.3,  Edmond Memorial High School was fifth with a 23.6, Deer Creek High School was sixth with a score of 23.2 and Santa Fe High School’s composite was 22.2.

Typically, the larger the testing population, the lower the score. However, schools in Oklahoma testing the largest student populations also had among the state’s highest scores in 2010.

The three Edmond area high schools having more than 300 ACT test-takers in their class of 2010 included: No. 4, Edmond North High School with 458 test-takers, 24.3; No. 5, Edmond Memorial High School had 450 test-takers, 23.6; and No. 8, Edmond Santa Fe High School had 356 test-takers, 22.2.

“At Edmond North, it’s cool to be smart,” said Principal Jan Keirns. “The Edmond North High School Class of 2010 set an all-time record for highest ACT scores in school history with a composite score of 24.3. Testing 85 percent of the senior class, these scores demonstrate the excellence in academics that is the mission and vision of the Edmond North Huskies.”

Keirns said Edmond North’s success is based on four areas: 1) increased academic rigor; 2) use of data to improve instruction and increase student learning; 3) collaborative teaming through Professional Learning Communities of teachers; and 4) development of interpersonal skills that enhance a student’s success as an individual.

“Effective teaching yields successful learning, an expectation embraced by the North staff,” Keirns said. “The teachers set high expectations for student learning and work hard with every student to insure learning.

“Ninety-two percent of the graduates are enrolled in a college-preparatory curriculum. Teachers and counselors strive to have every student tackle rigorous course work while also gaining the habits of mind, time-management skills, and analytical thinking that contribute to high achievement. The Advanced Placement program is one of the largest in the state, with 72 percent of the students having taken at least one AP course.”

An emphasis on instructional strategies that effectively increase reading skills has made an important difference in student success, Keirns added.

Edmond schools offer ACT prep classes held in the high schools that are tuition-based that students can elect to take after school hours.

“It gives them test-taking skills and relieves some of the anxiety that goes along with test-taking,” said Linda Despain, associate superintendent of education services for Edmond Public Schools.

“I think that is one thing that helps. I feel the rigor of the education program and Advanced Placement classes also helps. The number of students enrolling in AP classes and the number of AP tests being given is increasing. I think all of those things play a part in raising the ACT scores. We are continuing to increase the number of students taking the tests, 84 percent this past year, and our scores are increasing.”

The ACT Explorer test is given in the eighth grade and the ACT Plan test is given at the sophomore level.

“We share the scores with our principals,” Despain said. “Our curriculum people look at those scores. These tests are free to the students paid for by the state. The other thing that helps is students who take the CORE test.  

“The higher level of the course a student takes the higher their score will be on the ACT.”

 All ACT scores are posted at www.sde.state.ok.us and include both composite scores and subscores.

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