Moffat County High School ACT scores up in all subjects
September 8, 2015
Craig — Moffat County High School is celebrating an across-the-board boost in ACT scores for the class of 2015.
The scores were released Aug. 29, showing an overall jump in average composite score of .7 points, from 18.1 to 18.8, a larger jump in any direction than the school has seen in the past five years.
"Usually you'll see jumps in two areas in one year, maybe three areas one year, but not usually across the board," said MCHS Principal Kelly McCormick. "Also something that doesn't usually happen is a full 1-point jump, so when you see a full 1.2 jump, that's really cool, something's happening."
The area of biggest improvement was English, which saw an increase in average scores from 17.1 to 18.3 for the class of 2015 compared to class of 2014. Math scores saw an uptick from 18.2 to 18.6, reading went from 18.3 to 18.6 and science scores jumped from 18.4 to 19.
The ACT is a national test required by many colleges for admission and is required for all MCHS juniors.
MCHS English teacher Amy Hansen offered ACT prep sessions during students' lunch hour last spring, and was pleased to see the improvement.
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"To me, I think it's an indication of a lot of hard work by a lot of people on our curriculum, on our teaching, and on what we're doing with our students," Hansen said. "It's evidence we're making some gains."
Both Hansen and McCormick chalk up the boost in scores to a systematic overhaul of curriculum and teaching practices that began last year with a district-wide focus on "seven best practices."
"It was change and change is always hard," McCormick said. "This is giving us a focus and kids are starting to see that it's the same class to class to class. It's easier for kids to figure out what teachers want when they see they're doing the same practices across the board."
MCHS science teacher Tanner Linsacum attributes the positive results to both students valuing their education more and to a shift in teachers' approach to teaching and testing.
"I really do think the way the district is now is helping," Linsacum said. "There's buy-in with the teachers and good collaboration."
The scores are important because they indicate not only how well a school is teaching its students, but how college-prepared those students are.
"A lot of people talk about the goal is to get kids to graduate, well that's not our goal, that's our expectation," McCormick said. "Our goal is to get kids college-ready… and this tells us how college-ready they are."
While the scores represent the reversal of a general downward trend in average scores over the past five years, MCHS's averages are still below state average, which fall in the 20.2 to 21 range, with an average composite of 20.7.
"We're not done working. We have a lot to do and we want to see more improvement next year," Hansen said.