Student scores on one of the nation's most popular college entrance exams increased throughout Routt County this year, according to ACT test results released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Education.
The American College Test, a three-and-a-half-hour, 215-question multiple-choice exam covering English, math, reading and science, is administered to all high school juniors by state law. The test is curriculum-based and largely follows the state's model content standards, according to the Colorado Department of Educ-ation.
More than 200 juniors at Steamboat Springs High School, Hayden High School and Soroco High School took the test in April or May. The average ACT composite score increased at each school. The composite score is the average of the scores from the math, science, reading and English portions of the test.
Routt County high school principals on Thursday said they were pleased with the performance of their juniors.
"I'm proud of our teachers and students," Steamboat Springs High School Principal Dave Schmid said. "I think it's (just) one test, but it was a positive test."
Steamboat juniors scored a composite average of 20.9 on a 36-point scale, a slight gain from the scores of juniors who took the test in 2002. According to the ACT Web site, a composite score of 21 means 57 percent of recent high school graduates who took the ACT scored 21 or below.
Hayden juniors scored a composite average of 19 on the test, compared with 16.4 from the previous year. Significant gains were made in each subject area, particularly English and math.
"I was really pleased, particularly after seeing our (Colorado Student Assessment Program test) scores, which were horrendous," Hayden High School Principal Nick Schafer said. "We had a really good ACT prep program this year that we used extensively in all areas."
South Routt students achieved a composite average of 18.9, up 1.7 points from the scores of previous-year juniors.
It is difficult to compare the scores of one class of juniors with those of previous classes, Soroco High School Principal James Chamberlin said Thursday, but the improvement is encouraging none-theless.
"I was extremely pleased with this year's juniors and their results," Chamberlin said. "I think the indication that the average went up in a number of areas is encouraging for those juniors who want to go on to college. I know they took the test very seriously."
The Department of Education says the ACT encourages more students to consider post-secondary education, particularly if a student performs well on the test.
Steamboat Director of Content Standards Kelly Stanford said ACT results provide districts a good measure of student achievement before those students graduate. The CSAP test is not administered to students beyond 10th grade.