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For the week of Sept. 15, 1999 through Sept. 22, 1999

ACT scores for Blaine County graduates continue to rise

The number of test takers increases this year after a four-year decline

Express Staff Writer

While ACT scores for Idaho’s graduating seniors dropped slightly for the first time this year after several years of improving, scores for Blaine County School District graduating seniors continued to rise.

Many colleges and universities accept American College Testing (ACT) results instead of Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores with applications.

Carey High School showed the greatest improvement with an increase in the average composite score of 1.5 points from 18.8 in 1998 to 20.3 this year.

The average composite score for Wood River High School increased seven-tenths of a point from 23.1 in 1998 to 23.8 this year.

Scores from The Community School and Silver Creek Alternative School were not available.

Statewide, average composite ACT scores fell one-tenth of a point from 21.5 in 1988 to 21.4 this year.

When asked to comment on her school’s continued improvement, WRHS guidance counselor Donna Sipe, said, "I think each class has its own character. Things change from school to school and from class to class."

Sipe said that she thinks every high school and every community is different and that people often place too much emphasis on comparing scores.

But there’s no denying the five years of improving scores at WRHS.

"I think that we’re preparing students better than we have in the past," she said.

The Wood River Valley, she said, is "a highly motivated, demanding community, which I think is great."

Carey High School counselor, Joanne Hauk could not be reached for comment.

Another anomaly between state and local test statistics is in the number of graduating seniors taking the test. While fewer seniors statewide took the test this year, the number increased for both WRHS and Carey High School.

Again, the greatest increase was for the Carey school, which had almost twice as many graduates take the test this year compared to last year. That increase is significant considering that the number of graduates at the school taking the test has decreased steadily from 20 in 1995 to 10 in 1998. This year, 18 Carey graduates tested.

The number of WRHS graduates taking the ACT has also decreased steadily over the last several years from 80 in 1995 to 42 in 1998. This year, the number increased slightly to 43 test takers.

Statewide, those numbers have steadily increased from about 9,300 test takers in 1995 to about 10,200 in 1998. This year, however, approximately 10,000 graduates tested, about 200 fewer.

One reason for the increased number of Blaine County students taking the ACT could be that the county is testing students with learning disabilities for the first time this year.

Sipe said she is excited that the community has a broader range of students taking the ACT because it indicates that more students will be going to four-year schools.


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