ACT report card
Average scores on ACT tests for 2010 at Free State High School, Lawrence High School, the state of Kansas and nationwide, by subject and as a composite (36 is the highest possible score):
• Free State High School: English, 23.5; math, 23.1; reading, 24.1; science, 23.2. Composite: 23.6.
• Lawrence High School: English, 22.9; math, 22.8; reading, 23.7; science, 22.9. Composite: 23.2.
• Kansas: English, 21.4; math, 21.7; reading, 22.3; science, 21.9. Composite: 22.0.
• United States: English, 20.5; math, 21.0; reading, 21.3; science, 20.9. Composite: 21.0.
Topeka High schoolers in Lawrence scored higher on ACT exams this past year than their counterparts in Kansas and throughout the country.
Students in Lawrence public schools averaged 23.4 on the test, compared with average scores of 22 statewide and 21 nationwide, according to ACT Inc., the Iowa-based not-for-profit organization that conducts the assessment tests. The Lawrence average — reflecting the combination of results from ACT-taking students at Free State and Lawrence high schools — was down slightly from 23.5 a year ago, but higher than in any of the other previous three years.
“Both high schools are providing a quality education,” said Matt Brungardt, in his second year as principal at LHS. “Students taking the test are outperforming their peers throughout the state and the nation. The fact that we’re above both of those just means we have good teaching and learning going on in our schools.”
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being highest. The exam is designed to measure the readiness of students to handle first-year classwork in college.
Kansas is one of 13 states where more than 75 percent of high school graduates had taken the exam. Among those states, Kansas posted the highest composite average, topping the 21.8 posted in South Dakota, where all high school graduates had taken the test.
Kansas also outpaced other states in the region, including Missouri, 21.6; Nebraska, 22.1; Oklahoma, 20.7; and Colorado, 20.6.
Overall, Kansas tied Montana at No. 19 on the list of highest composite scores, just behind Wisconsin and ahead of North Carolina. All of the higher-performing states had relatively fewer students taking the test; those 18 states averaged only 30 percent of their graduates taking the test, well below the national rate of 47 percent.
A larger sample size, Brungardt said, generally means lower average scores.
“I am pleased to see that Kansas students continue to perform well when viewed against other students across the nation,” said Diane DeBacker, the state’s interim education commissioner, in a statement. “However, I also recognize that our work to ensure all students are ready for postsecondary opportunities — whether that means college or work — is ongoing.”