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Janesville ACT scores dip

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staff, Gazette
August 22, 2012

Janesville public school officials admit "lackluster" results on the ACT college-readiness tests but say they've got plans for a brighter future.

The annual release of test scores shows both Janesville high schools hoverring at or below the state average but above the national average.

"The School District of Janesville cannot settle for being average. We must do better for our children, and we will," Superintendent Karen Schulte said in a statement.

The ACT measures college readiness in English, reading, math and science. A perfect score is 36.

Officials are touting what they call Project Redesign, a plan they say will overhaul the high school curriculum. The changes will affect this fall's ninth graders. One grade will be added in each succeeding year.

The number of credits needed to graduate will increase from the current 22.5 to 24.

Project Redesign will incorporate the Common Core Standards, which are said to be more vigorous than current learning targets. Many states, including Wisconsin, are working on upgrading their existing standards with the Common Core Standards.

Local officials hope the overhaul will mean better performance on the ACT, Advanced Placement tests and on the state's standardized tests, "as well as the increased ability of Janesville graduates to find success after high school," according to a statement from the district.

"The School District of Janesville's performance on local, state and national testing has been relatively flat, and recent 2012 ACT results confirm that same trend," according to the statement.

"The ultimate goal is that students at both high schools meet and then exceed the ACT state average," according to the statement.

Officials note that Wisconsin consistently scores among the top tier of states where the ACT is the major college-readiness test.

The ACT publishes what it considers the minimum scores for students to be ready for college work. The scores are 18 in English, 22 in math, 21 in reading and 24 in science.

Twenty-five percent of Janesville students who took the test met all four of these standards. Statewide, 31 percent met the standard.

This year's disappointing ACT results come one year after a modest uptick. At that time, officials said previous efforts to improve academic achievement seemed to be taking hold.

Officials this year point to one bright spot, the fact that black high school students have improved their performance on various tests. That fact was the reason that U.S. News & World Report ranked Parker at 19th among Wisconsin high schools this year.

"These results are hopeful markers that improvement efforts at our high schools are turning the tide," according to the district statement.

Full results, including data broken down by ethnic groups, were not immediately available.



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