Janesville63.2°

Janesville trails state average on ACT results

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
August 19, 2009
— The Janesville School District's performance on an annual college-readiness test continues to lag slightly behind the state average.

The district's average composite score on the ACT this year was 21.9 out of a possible 36. That's four-tenths of a point behind the state average of 22.3.


Wisconsin is one of the top ACT-scoring states in the nation. The national average composite score this year is 21.1.


Janesville schools have lagged behind the state for at least the past five years.


"We're hanging around the state average, that's correct, but we're never satisfied with being around the state average," said Craig High School Principal Mike Kuehne.


Kuehne and Parker High School Principal Steve Schroeder were at an all-district administrators meeting in Milwaukee on Tuesday, where part of the business was to discuss how schools can lead students to higher achievement, Kuehne said.


Reports show 277 Craig students took the ACT, while 207 did so at Parker.


The ACT also puts out a report on the readiness of test-takers to tackle courses in a four-year college. The ACT says students should score at least an 18 on the ACT English portion to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher on a college English composition course, or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher.


The same benchmarks are 22 on the ACT math test, relating to a college algebra course; 21 on the ACT reading test, corresponding to college social studies, and 24 on the science test, relating to college biology.


The Janesville School District's 2009 graduates had 74 percent who met the English benchmark, 43 percent for math, 60 percent for reading and 37 percent for science.


The state average performance was higher than Janesville's on all four tests: 77 percent, 53 percent, 62 percent and 37 percent, respectively.


The percentage of Janesville test takers who met or exceeded all four benchmark scores was 24 percent, compared with 30 percent statewide.


The ACT continues to report significantly lower scores for Wisconsin students who are members of racial minorities. Janesville data for minorities was not immediately available.


Kuehne cautioned that the scores are only one piece of the entire picture of students' academic achievement.


Typically, students who don't plan to go to a four-year college or university do not take the ACT. A small number take the SAT test, which is preferred by many private universities and schools on the coasts.


A spokesman for the Department of Public Instruction said the department hoped to have ACT scores for all the state's school districts posted online sometime this week.


To access those numbers, access the DPI's WINNS system online at dpi.wi.gov/sig/index.html.

JANESVILLE ACT SCORES


Average composite scores on the ACT:


Year---Janesville---Parker---Craig---State


2005---21.9---21.6---22.1---22.2


2006---22.1---21.7---22.4---22.2


2007---21.8---21.6---21.8---22.3


2008---22.0---21.8---22.2---22.3


2009---21.9---21.4---22.2---22.3



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