Class of 2017 fares well on ACT

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For the sixth straight year, Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District students had a composite score on the ACT college admissions exam at least three points above the state average, according to a report released on Thursday, Sept. 7.

The MCPASD Class of 2017 had a composite average of 24.4 on the ACT compared with the state average of 20.5. The state’s participation in ACT testing jumped to 100 percent for the Class of 2016 as the state joined 16 others that administer the college admissions exam to all public school graduates.

The national average was 21.0. Wisconsin was third highest among the 17 states where all graduates were tested, behind Minnesota and Colorado.

MCPASD students at Middleton High School, Clark Street Community School and 21st Century eSchool took the ACT. In all, 523 students in the Class of 2017 took the exam.

The MCPASD Class of 2016 had a composite score of 23.8 on the ACT compared with the state average of 20.5. The MCPASD Class of 2015 had a composite score of 25.2 on the ACT compared with the state average of 22.2, but District Secondary Director of Teaching and Learning Laura Love noted about 76 percent of students in that class took the exam.

Fifty-three percent of District students met the benchmarks in all four areas – English, algebra, social science and biology – to be ready for college compared with the state average of 25 percent. A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding course in college.

Below is a chart comparing the percentage of students in the Class of 2017 who reached the benchmark in each of those areas:

Subject area District average State average
English 79 percent 59 percent
Algebra 71 percent 39 percent
Social Science 67 percent 42 percent
Biology 66 percent 37 percent

ACT predicted a 1.3 to 1.8 score decline for Wisconsin and the six other states that funded ACT testing for all 11th-graders in 2015 as part of their statewide assessments, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction reported.

MCPASD students who have taken the ACT in prior years have fared very well compared to their peers. The district’s composite score for the Class of 2016 was the best among Dane County districts and Big Eight Conference schools. The only comparable districts with higher ACT averages were Mequon-Thiensville (24.3) and Elmbrook (24.0).

ACT results for public school students will be available by school and by district later this year. The ACT is scored on a scale of one to 36 and consists of five subject areas: English, reading, writing, mathematics and science.

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