Increasing student enrollment in challenging courses pushed Lawrence students' scores on the ACT to a five-year high, a district official said Thursday.
Free State High School and Lawrence High School both had an average composite score of 23.7 on the college-entrance exam, topping both the state and national averages. Thirty-six is the maximum score on the 215-question, multiple-choice test on math, science reasoning, reading and English.
"Students who take more than core subjects ... score substantially better on the ACT than those students with a less rigorous pattern of coursework," said Marlene Merrill, director of assessment for the Lawrence district.
In Lawrence, 2001 seniors at both high schools performed at a higher level than their immediate predecessors. Free State's composite score increased to 23.7 from 23.2. At LHS, the score went up to 23.7 from 22.9.
The Kansas average was 21.6 for a second consecutive year, while the national average remained at 21 for the fifth consecutive year.
Merrill said students performing well on the exam were more likely to have had four years of English and math, three years of science and a speech class.
Lawrence district averages on the ACT's four sections:
Science reasoning, 23.4
ACT scores in Lawrence corresponded to student grade-point averages in high school, Merrill said.
Students with a GPA of 2.0 or less averaged 17.6. The average score for students with a 2.0 to 3.0 GPA was 21.4, while students with a GPA of 3.5 or more averaged a score of 26.