Carson shows improvement on ACT test

Rome wasn’t built in a day and for the Carson City School District, the long-term effort for its students to improve their scores on the ACT college prep test headed in the right direction in 2016.

Juniors at Carson and Pioneer High Schools who took the ACT test in 2016 showed a slight improvement over students who took the test in 2015. All juniors in Nevada are required to take the test.

“Yes we’re encouraged by the improvement that we showed,” said Susan Keema, the district’s assistant superintendent for educational services. “Small steps — but forward.”

Keema also said she was encouraged by the improvement Hispanic students showed on the test.

The percentage of students in the district who met the benchmark in all four areas of the test increased slightly from 12 to 13 percent. The average scores for the district also improved in all four areas in 2016 from 2015.

The average score, though, in all four areas remained below the benchmark scores for the test. Those results are somewhat skewed, though, as a number of the students taking the test wouldn’t be considered college prep students.

But Keema said the advantage of requiring all juniors to take the test is there are those who don’t consider themselves college prep students, but score high enough on the test to be considered for higher education. Keema said requiring all juniors to take the test makes sure the district doesn’t allow those students to “slip through the cracks.”

There were 532 students who took the ACT test in the district in 2015 while 598 students — 585 juniors and 13 seniors — took the test in 2016. Many other seniors in the district would have taken the other major college prep test, the SAT.

For the ACT, the benchmark score is 18 in English, 22 in Algebra (math), 22 in social science (reading) and 23 in biology (science) 23. Students who score at least that high on the test are projected to be successful in similar subjects when they attend college.

From 2015 to 2016, the district’s score improved from 15.62 to 16.20 in English, from 18.21 to 18.36 in math, from 18.06 to 18.47 in reading and from 18.38 to 18.80 in science. The district score was at or above most other districts in the state.

The district took steps to improve ACT scores in 2015-2016. Keema said district will look at what its doing and would likely focus on “getting better at doing those things we were doing this year” to make sure ACT scores continue to rise.

Complete results are available at the Nevada Department of Education website.


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