GHS students top state average on ACT

by nathan oster

Greybull High School students continued to top the state average on the American College Test, as the 47 juniors who took the college-readiness exam in the spring posted an average composite score of 20.1.

The average composite score statewide was 19.5.

Principal Ty Flock said he was pleased with the numbers.

“I honestly anticipated that this class would do pretty well and maybe even expected the composite average to be a little bit higher,” he said. “However our trend data is good.  We are continuing each year to move in an upward cycle over the long run.  There will always be years where we may dip or rise but in the long run the trend goal is of course to see growth.”

GHS students reached their five-year peak in 2017, scoring an average composite of 20.6 on the ACT. In 2016, they posted a 20.1. Prior to that, GHS students hovered around 19, posting an 18.6 in 2015, a 19.7 in 2014 and a 19.3 in 2013.

Looking closer at the numbers, Flock said last year’s juniors scored a bit higher than the previous year’s juniors in English (18.7, up from 18.6), but not quite as well in reading (21.2, down from 21.2), science (19.6, down from 20.8) and math (20.4, down from 21.3).

In all four content areas, however, Greybull students again topped state averages, which were 19.9 in reading, 19.5 in science, 18.4 in English and 19.3 in math.

“Overall I am very pleased for the class and their performance and it is a testament to Greybull schools in preparing these students not only to take the ACT but preparing them for college and/or life after high school,” said Flock. “We have bright students that care about their grades and how well they perform and support from their parents as well.”

Two GHS students scored over 30 in not only their composite scores, but also in several individual categories as well, Flock said. In addition seven students scored a 25 or higher composite as well as 26 students scoring a 20 or higher composite.

Forty-seven GHS juniors took the test.

Flock said he also tracks how students are meeting “college readiness” benchmarks.

“This year’s results were good,” he said. “In English, mathematics, and reading our percentages meeting college readiness benchmarks were statistically higher than the state average.  In science we were exactly the same percentage compared to the state and only one point below the state average for meeting all four benchmarks statewide.”


Statewide perspective

“The ACT is a college readiness exam that opens doors for Wyoming students through the Hathaway Scholarship,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow in a release. “We are appropriately no longer using the ACT to measure academic achievement. We emphasize multiple options for students after high school, and we don’t tie success to a single test. As we implement changes to how we hold schools accountable and offer them support, I know our educators and administrators will continue to do everything they can to better prepare students for the future.”

Statewide results show a statistically insignificant decrease in the average composite score and in each subject area. The eight high schools that earned the highest average composite score are: Burlington, 24.6; Jackson Hole, 22.3; Sheridan, 22.1; Lovell, 21.8; Central, 21.6; Star Valley, 21.6, Laramie, 21.5, and Cokeville, 21.5.

In the spring of 2018, 21 schools administered the ACT online, compared to 14 schools the year before. Individual student results on the ACT help determine Hathaway Scholarship Program eligibility. Students must earn a minimum average composite score of 17 to be eligible for the Provisional level of the scholarship, 19 for Opportunity, 21 for Performance, and 25 for Honors.

“By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require training beyond high school according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce,” said Superintendent Balow. “These results show that through the Hathaway Scholarship, nearly 70 percent of our students have better access to that training at our community colleges or the University of Wyoming.”

A new assessment system was implemented in the 2017-18 school year, with students in grades 3-10 taking the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP). In prior years, students in grades 9-10 took the ACT Aspire, and grade 11 ACT results were used to indicate achievement for accountability purposes. Now, grade 10 WY-TOPP results will be used to measure achievement, and the grade 11 ACT results will be used to indicate growth and post-secondary readiness for accountability. All WY-TOPP results are set to be released in late September, and accountability determinations will be released in November.

“This data does not represent how Wyoming did compared to other states on the ACT,” added Superintendent Balow. “I’m encouraged by the percentage of Wyoming students that qualified for the Hathaway Scholarship on the ACT, but we know we don’t have the full picture yet.”

Nationally, the release of ACT scores for the class of 2018 has been delayed until October 17, 2018. ACT has preliminarily noted an unexpected dip in average composite scores.