Juniors’ ACT scores at East Jessamine High School last year were lower than the previous year but not at all unexpected or abnormal, according to school-district officials.
The initial release in August showed that East High juniors in 2012 (the class of 2013) had a composite average of 19 on the test compared to the 2011 juniors’ figure of 19.4. The college-entrance test, which is scored from 1 to 36, is mandatory for Kentucky public-school juniors.
But the scores from other ACT predictors show that the class of 2013 at East Jessamine High School is following a similar trajectory to the two previous classes. East’s class of 2013 scored a 14.4 composite average on the eighth-grade EXPLORE test and a 16.6 composite average on the 10th-grade PLAN assessment before the 19 on the ACT. While those figures are each lower than the class of 2012’s average scores, they are each higher than the class of 2011’s.
Maurice Chappell, the district’s new director of secondary schools, told the Jessamine County Board of Education at a Sept. 10 work session that it is good for the class averages to rise at the same rate, keeping the classes ordered the same way at each testing juncture. He said the cause for concern would be if a class’s scores stopped rising at a comparable rate to other classes.
Chappell also shared other additional ACT data with the board, including news that the achievement gap between the scores of African-American students and white students was continuing to close. African-American juniors — who typically number about 20 in a given class — had a composite average of 17.8 in 2012, up from 16.1 in 2008 and 16.8 in 2011.
The gap between the composite average of African-American students and white students has closed from 3.3 points in 2008 to 2.2 in 2012 — a change superintendent Lu Young said is in part due to the hiring of achievement-gap coaches at each school.
“They’re trending in the right direction, and the achievement-gap efforts, at first blush, seem to be paying off,” she said.
The scores from The Providence School were also announced at the work session. Juniors at the alternative high school had a composite average of 15.1 in 2012, down from the previous class’s banner-year mark of 16.1.
“That was a very small group of students, one class that went through,” Young said. “It’s not unusual to see the kinds of fluctuations in years that you see when the ‘n’ count of students is so small.”