Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lansing students raise ACT exam scores once again

August 30, 2007

It's been another good year for Lansing High School students in regard to their most recent ACT test results.

The 119 students who took the ACT in 2006-07 had a combined composite score of 23.6 compared to last year's result of 22.5 said Donna Hughes, assistant superintendent.

She said the increase was expected; in each of the past 10 years she's been with USD 469, the scores have almost always gone up.

The ACT is a national college entrance exam that test students in four areas: English, math, reading and science. The highest score possible is 36.

According to the Web site act.org, the 2007 national composite score was 21.2, a slight increase from last year's national average of 21.1.

Hughes said the district encouraged students to take college prep courses such as Advanced Placement and Honors classes to prepare for the test. But what she said helped the most with Lansing's scores were the district's teachers.

Linda Tubbs, a counselor at Lansing High, agreed. Tubbs said the high quality of teachers that do their job so well every day in the classrooms gives students the best preparation they can receive.

USD 469 does not offer any special ACT prep courses for its students. Tubbs said she tells students to read over the directions and become familiar with the format of the test and the type of questions that are asked, and they'll do fine.

But she added that even though an intense cram session may not be necessary, the test should be taken seriously. ACT scores, she said, usually are the first item colleges look at to decide if a student should be accepted.

She said these days big schools don't have time to consider everything from GPAs to resumes. The ACT score weeds out certain students, Tubbs said, so then the students that do best can be looked at closer through essay applications and recommendations.

Most students take the ACT in the spring of their junior year and then again in the fall of their senior year, Tubbs said. While taking the test twice can help improve scores sometimes, she said she's never seen a significant improvement in a score. It's still a good idea, however, to take the test more than once she said, to become more comfortable with the process.

Besides college-entrance possibilities, Tubbs uses ACT results to counsel students on career goals. She said because scores are broken down into the four categories of the test, it's easy to see where a student's strengths and weakness were and then point them in the direction of a career with the best fit.

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