High schools ACT scores take a dip | VailDaily.com

High schools ACT scores take a dip

Matt Terrell

EAGLE COUNTY ” Overall scores are slightly down, but high school juniors in Eagle County performed well on the ACT, a widely recognized standardized test for college admissions, school officials say.

Recently released results for 2008 show that Eagle County juniors at Red Canyon slightly improved their scores, while students at Eagle Valley High School and Battle Mountain High School had a slight decrease in their scores.

The district’s average score remained within one point of last year’s average, which was the highest in four years for the school district. The district’s average was slightly below the state average this year.

“We’ve gone up the past three years, but didn’t this year,” said Battle Mountain Principal Brian Hester. “We’re close to the state average, and we always want to continue to improve.”

Looking at test scores is tricky though ” the students who took the test this year are a completely different set of students than those who took it the previous year, so comparing one year to the next isn’t an exact comparison, Hester said.

In the past, students who retook the test as seniors after having taken an ACT preparation course performed better the second time around, Hester said.

Colorado is one of three states that gives the ACT to all high school juniors as an assessment of student achievement, much like they would the Colorado Student Assessment Program, or CSAP. In other states, the test is taken only by college-bound students.

The ACT is different than the CSAP in that it can have a more visible impact on a student’s future.

“The ACT is, along with grade-point averages, one of the key indicators for college admissions,” Hester said.

And students are recognizing that it could help them get into a good school. That’s why many students spend a lot of time studying for the ACT out of class, and parents help encourage that, and why many students sign up for ACT prep courses, Hester said.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

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