ACT scores propel parish schools into state’s Top 5

Staff reports

DONALDSONVILLE - On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Education released ACT scores showing improved scores among Ascension high school graduates from the class of 2008.

The average ACT composite score for Ascension Parish graduates in 2007 was 20.3. In 2008, graduates’ scores increased to 20.7, a higher mark than the Louisiana state composite average of 20.3. In fact, Ascension graduates averaged above 20 in each of the four areas.

“The report provides us with a snapshot of how well our district is preparing high school graduates for college. We are very pleased to see their academic growth,” Superintendent Donald Songy said. “I commend our teachers and administrators for working so hard to assure that their students are prepared for college and other postsecondary institutions.”

The ACT tests a student’s educational development in English, mathematics, reading and science, to measure their readiness for college. A student’s score for each area of curriculum is averaged to equal their composite score. The scores of students from a specific school are compiled to reach the school’s average composite score. The highest achievable ACT score is a 36.0.

When compared to the 70 public school districts across the state, Ascension scored exceptionally well ranking fifth. St. Tammany led the state with a score of 21.7, followed by Lafayette, Central Community, and Catahoula. Livingston and Ouachita parishes also ranked fifth with a score of 20.7.

This is the district’s second top 10 ranking in recent months. In March, the State Department of Education awarded the Ascension Parish School System a District Performance Score of 98.3 (based on the 2006-07 school year), moving them up to eighth for school district performance in the state.

Graduates from Donaldsonville High showed the most growth in Ascension’s district, improving their composite ACT score up 1.6 points from a score of 15.9 in 2007 to a 17.5 in 2008. Their largest area of improvement was in English were graduates increased by 2.1 points. In both mathematics and reading, scores improved by 1.6 points. While science increased by 1.3 points compared to 2007 scores.

East Ascension High graduates also improved in all four areas, including a 1.1 point increase in English and a 0.7 point increase in mathematics. Their composite score jumped up to 20.1, a 0.6 point increase from 2007 score.

St. Amant High increased scores in three of the four areas and remained at a composite score of 21.1. Graduates from Dutchtown High improved in two areas compared to 2007 scores and increased their composite score to 21.2. Both schools performed at or above national average.

“Our district provides programs in order to help students prepare for tests such as the ACT. We want to give each student every opportunity possible to achieve,” Songy said. “With the successful implementation of such initiatives as our Freshman Academies and the upcoming adoption of district-wide assessments, we are confident that this growth will continue.”