Boyle County High School sets school record in ACT scores

Published 8:23 am Friday, November 17, 2017

Boyle County High School students have hit a milestone in their ACT scores this year, reaching an average composite score of 22.4 for the 2016-2017 year.

“Seven or eight years ago, the high school set a milestone to hit a 22.4. That was around the point we were a 19.3, or maybe an 18.7. I remember when they set that goal to hit a 22, we just thought, it just seemed impossible,” said David Young, assistant superintendent, to board members during Tuesday’s board of education meeting. “We couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to average 22.”

A press release from the district said that score is the highest in school history, beating the national average of 21. The state average composite score for 2016-2017 was 19.8.

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Young said there was no “magic potion.”

“It’s just steady, doing more and more things that benefit kids. It’s that gradual growth, which I really like — to me, when you see gradual growth like that, the likelihood that it’s going to stick is greater,” he said. “You can just see that happening through the data.”

Superintendent Mike LaFavers said the commitment the board made ensuring sophomores could take the ACT in 2013 was important, too. The school district pays $46 for each sophomore to take the ACT.

Young agreed, and said, “The sophomores take it. It gets that first ACT out of the way — the fear of it, the nervousness of it … They’re more likely to take it multiple times after.”

An additional $20 is paid to get a report detailing the questions asked, answers given by the student and the answer key. Young said the school is able to use those reports to tailor instruction to the students, to help them improve.

Typically, about 80 percent of sophomores take the test. This year, Young said about 96 percent have signed up to take it. “That’s a great sign as well.”

LaFavers said he felt that some of the success was owed to the elementary schools, too. “When we set that, the current juniors were in elementary school,” he said. 

It was the efforts of the schools and their “rigor and performance” that have made the difference, LaFavers said.

According to the school’s report card, available on the Kentucky Department of Education, there were 231 students who took the test, earning an average of 22.3 on the English portion, an average of 21.7 on the mathematics portion, an average of 22.7 on the reading portion and an average of 22.3 on the science portion.

The district’s press release said 53 of the 231 students scored a 28 or higher on the exam.