Saturday, August 31, 2002
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School's Class of 2002 scored higher than the state and national averages on their ACT scores.
"To perform as well as we did to the state and national averages, we are very pleased," said Kelly Stanford, director of content standards for the Steamboat Springs School District.
This year all of the graduating seniors were required to take the ACT their junior year and their test score was included in the class average if they did not take the ACT at a later date.
"It's important to note that this included every student," Stanford said.
The ACT is typically taken by college-bound students, and making the test a requirement for all students holds the school to a higher level of accountability, she said.
"I think that as we progress we make our curriculum more articulated," she said. The ongoing work to evaluate curriculum has helped keep the students performing at high levels, Stanford said.
According to the results, students demonstrated strength in reading, writing, English, math and science.
On average, students performed slightly better in reading and math.
"We're pretty balanced," Stanford said. "The results reflect strength in our program areas."
Administrators said the results should be credited to the talent and dedication of the recent Steamboat graduates, teachers and support staff.
The class average for English was 21.2, 21.4 for math, 22.4 for reading and 22.5 for science. The highest score possible on the ACT is 36.
The state and national averages were between one and two points lower than the Steamboat Springs High School averages.
The ACT is geared toward the knowledge and skills students need for success in college.
Stanford said the ACT should be used only as one piece of assessment information.
"A low ACT score doesn't mean a student can't be successful in college or that a school is not doing a good job," she said.
Stanford said the ACT averages were lower this year than last year because all students, not just college-bound students took the test.
The Colorado Department of Education reported the 2002 class ACT results should not be compared to previous averages since the test is now required for all students.
Gayle Dudley, vocational director for Steamboat Springs High School, said the high school hired a consultant to offer juniors a course on taking the ACT.
The course was offered for two mornings or afternoons to accommodate the students' schedules.
"Kids claim (the course) makes a difference and lets them know what to expect," she said.
She said administering the ACT to all juniors was not inconvenient to most students planning to attend college.
Dudley said most Colorado colleges accept the ACT, while some eastern colleges only consider SAT scores.
She said for students attending college, it offered them a chance to take the ACT without having to pay for the test.
Superintendent Cyndy Simms said requiring juniors to take the test is in the student's best interest.
"For some of the juniors not thinking about college it might provide that extra incentive," she said.
Simms also said it gives juniors a chance to retake the test their senior year if they want a better score before applying to college.
"Our kids took it really seriously," Dudley said.