John, E'town up in ACT scores

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Elizabethtown scores were among best in Kentucky

By Kelly Cantrall

ACT results for the local schools showed John Hardin High School and Elizabethtown High School improved in all four tested areas, while other schools were a mixed bag of increased and decreased scores.

But most scores didn’t meet the benchmarks set by ACT Inc., which is consistent for the state’s results overall.

The ACT is a multiple-choice test that measures college preparedness in four areas — English, math, reading and science. Students receive scores in the individual areas and a composite score for overall performance.

Results were released Wednesday for juniors, all of whom are mandated to take the test as part of the state’s annual assessments, and 2011 graduates, who elect to take the test. Only the juniors’ scores were released for individual schools.

The results assist districts in meeting college- and career-readiness goals, which recently have become more of a focus in the state. The results give districts useful data to measure students’ preparedness for life after high school, said Mark Kopp, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Hardin County Schools.

Kopp said the results are from the hard work in the district and it’s especially showing at John Hardin.

“They were up significantly from last year,” he said.

Elizabethtown's composite ranking was the state's 16th best.

"I'm so proud of our students, teachers and parents," Superintendent Gary French said.

Karen Branham, assistant superintendent for instruction at Elizabethtown Independent Schools, said she’s looking forward to new standards implemented for math and English, which she thinks could make a difference in helping students meet benchmarks.

“For me that is an absolute step in the right direction,” Branham said.

LaRue County High School held steady in its scores for English and reading, improved in science and dropped in math from the school’s 2010 scores. The school had an overall drop in composite scores of 0.1 points.

The same was true of Central Hardin High School’s composite, which either stayed the same as last year or experienced minute drops. The school’s English and reading scores remained the same, and scores fell in math and science.

North Hardin High School improved in reading and science scores and saw decreases in English and math scores.

Benchmarks set by ACT Inc. were created to predict a student’s success in college classes. If a student makes an 18 or above on the English portion of the exam, that student has about a 50 percent chance of making a B or higher in a college English course.

The benchmarks are 18 for English, 22 for math, 21 for reading and 24 for science. Central, John, LaRue and Elizabethtown high schools met the English benchmark; and Elizabethtown met the reading benchmark. None of the local schools met the math or the science benchmarks.

Only 11 percent of juniors in the state met all four benchmarks, according to a news release from the Kentucky Department of Education.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.