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Summit High’s ACT scores remain strong

SUMMIT COUNTY – To the uninformed observer, it would appear Summit High School’s students’ ACT test scores are down. However, while the composite scores do show a slight dip over the past five years, the results are good news to Summit School Board members.

High school faculty presented the most recent round of ACT data to school board members Wednesday night. The test measures student achievement in the areas of English, reading, mathematics, science-based reasoning, and combines those categories into a composite score. The highest score in any area is a 36.

The average composite score for Summit High School juniors last year was 20.4, above the 19.7 state average for juniors. The graduating seniors of 2002-03 scored an average composite of 20.9; Colorado’s seniors as a whole averaged 20.1. The national average for students taking the test was 20.8.



In the past five years, Summit seniors’ ACT scores have dropped about two points. The composite score peaked at 23.0 for the 1999-2000 class. The difference, though, is not statistically significant, meaning the variation is within expectations.

Even with the slight drop, some school board members said Wednesday they were delighted with the result – considering the larger drop they expected following new state education testing requirements.



Formerly, only college-bound students signed up for the ACT. Along with the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, the tests are used with grades and activities to evaluate student admissions applications and scholarships.

With the institution of the Colorado Student Assessment Program, or CSAP, tests in 1997, all high school juniors were required to take the ACT, not just those headed for college. The junior testing requirement took effect two years ago. So, the data for last year’s tests, for both juniors and seniors, reflect all students. This has greatly increased the number of students taking the test – and thus the potential for significant effects to the school’s average. For example, in the class of 1999, only 74 of the graduating seniors had taken the ACT. The class of 2002 had 170 seniors take the test.

“To be honest, I was pretty concerned that we’d see a big drop,” said Dr. Marshall Denkinger, a school board member. “But essentially, when you look at the longitudinal data, you’re looking at two different types of cohorts (before and after the all-student requirement) and the difference isn’t that big.”

High school counselor Debbie Luckett also pointed out to board members that the state average has dropped as a result of the larger number of test-takers.

Juniors this year will take the ACT on April 28. Although the school is not offering a test-preparation elective for students this year, principal Frank Mencin expressed confidence that test results would begin an upward trend.

“Hopefully, the juniors will raise the academic bar,” he said.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

rwilliams@summitdaily.com.


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