In the second and final year of state paid American College Testing (ACT) for the Class of 2017 resulted in a slightly better average at Union R-XI,

The testing results show the annual composite score raised by .2 to a district average of 19.9, the second lowest in the county.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Scott Hayes said there are positives to take away from the results.

“We have work that we need to do, definitely,” Hayes said. “But we’re still proud of our gains and continue to look at what we can do this year to better prepare our kids for college and career because this is a readiness assessment.”

Ups and Downs

The district’s composite score is higher than last year’s, but roughly 1.5 down from its 2015 score of 22.4. The district saw a sharp decrease in its composite after the state began paying for ACT testing and testing all graduates.

“It’s a good five-year trend when you look at it,” Hayes said. “We’re up and down in some areas and we have some work to do.”

The subject breakdown for the senior class is as follows: math, 19.3; reading, 20.3; English, 19.8; and science, 19.8. Nearly 170 students were tested. English was up by .9, math by .1, while science reading remained the same.

Hayes said math was a big challenge for the school and something he and the other administrators would be looking to improve students’ college readiness on. He added that there was encouraging gains this year as well.

“Our English score jumped up almost a full point. Last year when you looked at this score — 18.9 versus 19.7, and now we’re up even with the state with 19.8 — I think that’s a very good jump and a very good gain for us.”

State Averages

The data released by ACT shows that 211 graduates were tested and of them 16 percent ready for college-level coursework. In the state, 23 percent tested ready for that work.

In English 68 percent of students tested college-ready, nine percent more than the state average. Forty-three percent were ready for college social science courses.

Only 23 percent were ready for college algebra and 25 percent for college biology.

Hayes said the district hopes to raise its average to match the state’s score of 20.4, and will work for that with its current juniors.

“We’re a little below the state average,” Hayes said. “We always like to be even with the state and we’re a little below that so our goal for next year will be at or above that score.”

Assessment Budget

The payment for the Missouri junior’s ACT tests was halted after just two years of operation when Gov. Eric Greitens cut the state’s assessment funding by roughly $4 million.

Hayes said there was still some discussion to be had on whether the school district will foot the bill for its junior’s ACT assessments. He said he would be meeting with a group of other assistant superintendents to discuss it in the near future.

Some districts in Missouri, and even some as close as the Washington School District, have continued to pay for the testing.