Basehor-Linwood leaders credit tougher classes, parents for ACT improvement
Basehor-Linwood ACT scores
A breakdown of USD 458 ACT scores from 2010 and 2011:
Total students tested
Basehor-Linwood High School students’ average composite ACT scores jumped more than a full point in 2011, the school district announced this past week.
Administrators credited the improvement to the district's staff and a push for more rigorous courses for college-bound students.
The average composite ACT score of 22.3 for the BLHS class of 2011 outpaced state and national averages and reversed a three-year trend of sliding ACT scores for the school. The school’s score improved from a 21.2 composite for the class of 2010.
“That's a pretty big jump,” Basehor-Linwood superintendent David Howard said.
The state of Kansas’ average composite score for the college entrance exam in 2011 was 22.0, the same as the year before, according to figures from the Kansas State Department of Education. The national average score was 21.1. Scores are out of 36 possible points.
Howard noted that Basehor-Linwood was the only district in Leavenworth County to increase its average scores in 2011. Average scores fell slightly in both Tonganoxie — from 21.8 to 21.6 — and Bonner Springs — 21.2 to 21.0.
Basehor-Linwood students improved across the board on the ACT, increasing average scores in all four of the test's subject areas: English, math, reading and science. The district’s average score surpassed the state’s average in every area except math.
Howard said the improvement may have actually been made possible by the fact that scores had fallen each of the three years before. As everyone from school board members and administrators to counselors and parents began to talk about improving ACT scores, the test became more important for everyone, Howard said.
“Like any goal, I believe when you start talking about it, people start focusing on it, and improvements are made,” Howard said.
Basehor-Linwood High School principal Sherry Reeves said counselors and parents alike had been encouraging more students to enroll in challenging courses. Counselors and administrators had noticed that students enrolling in a more rigorous college-preparatory curriculum had performed better on the ACT.
“As we communicate the purpose and the need of the ACTs, parents are supporting their kids to stay in more rigorous classes,” Reeves said.
This year, the school has added five more honors classes, and students, encouraged by their parents, have filled them up, Reeves said. She said she hoped that meant ACT scores would increase more in coming years.
“Our kids are definitely rising to the challenge,” Reeves said.
Howard said the district was also lucky to have a large percentage of parents who are heavily involved in their children’s education.
“We have tremendous parental support in our district,” Howard said.
Earlier this month, the district received good news about its state assessment scores as well, as it discovered it would meet the federal Adequate Yearly Progress standard after falling short in 2010. But Howard said the improvement on ACT scores was perhaps even more meaningful, as it shows how well students are prepared for life after high school.
“It’s really a true test of what kids know coming out of high school, and if they’re going to be successful in college,” Howard said.