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Only Oswego

School District 308 ACT Scores Tumble in 2015

Sep 14, 2015 10:28PM ● By Steven Jack

Despite a district-wide effort announced last year to improve college entrance exam scores, results from the 2015 ACT test in School District 308 show scores heading in the opposite direction.

According to documents presented to School Board members Monday night, District 308 students averaged a 20.8 on the test for 2015. That's down from a district average of 21.2 in 2014. District 308 students last averaged 20.8 in 2013 and 21.2 in 2012.

Students at neither high school out-performed one another in 2015 as both sets of students averaged the district's composite of 20.8. In May 2014 the district announced a concerted effort to raise the district's average score to 23 by 2019.

Average scores in all four categories of the test (reading, math, science and English) fell year over year. The biggest decrease came in reading, with students averaging 21.6 in 2014 and 20.9 in 2015. That was still better than the state reading average, though, which came in at 20.8.

Dr. Judith Minor, the district's assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, told board members the district's scores mirror state and national results, which also dipped or stayed the same. The state average for 2014 was 21.2, but dropped to 20.7 for 2015. Nationally, students average 21 in both years.  

Minor said she expects ACT scores to improve as more students continue to take Advance Placement courses at the high school level. From the 2012-13 school year to the end of 2014-15 the number of students taking AP courses rose in the district by 238 percent. That number is tied to the district initiative in 2014-15 to pay the AP course test fees for all students.  

The rigor of AP courses and the amount of students now taking them should lead to better ACT test results, Minor said. 

Board member Jared Ploger, argued, however ACT scores won't see significant improvement in the district without first making progress in the education of the lowest performing students. 

"The goal of 23 or 24 is a pipe dream without addressing the achievement gap in this district," Ploger said.