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Lakeland Lags State’s ACT Composite Average By Half Point

Calico Spanish

A fifth of 11th graders (Class of 2017) tested last March at Lakeland Union High School were fully ready for college-level coursework, according to results of the ACT test they took. The core subject areas tested were English, mathematics, reading, and science.

Compared to Lakeland, the statewide average for students who met all four ACT benchmark scores was slightly better at 22 percent, said Director of Curriculum Robert Way, in his report Monday, Dec. 19 to the school board. This was the second year that all students in the state were required to take the ACT exam as juniors. In the past, only those students with a high degree of certainty of going to a two- or four-year college would take the assessment. Colleges use the ACT score as one of several factors in deciding whether to admit a student.

Those LUHS students taking the college readiness exam had an average composite score of 19.6 out of a maximum of 36. The state’s average composite score was 20.1. For both, it was 19.9 for the prior year. The ACT recommends that schools and the community should focus on 3-, 5-, and even 10-year trends and not year-to-year where fluctuations are normal, even expected to occur.

Administrator/Principal Jim Bouche noted that Lakeland had an average composite score of 23.2 over five years (with 65% of the juniors taking the test) before the new rule that all students had to take the ACT came into play. “We had a handful, not a ton, of high achieving students that the parents chose (for them) to opt out of their test,” Way said. Bouche suggested that could skew the final composite figure. But Board President Tom Gabert shot that thought process down, noting it would take a significant number of opt outs from among the 163 juniors who took the test to have made a real difference in the score. “I don’t think that neither one of you is suggesting that we still don’t have work to do,” Gabert said. “We still have work to do, yes,” Way affirmed.

This year’s juniors will take the ACT on Feb. 28, he added. ACT encourages schools to have more of their students ready for algebra before ninth grade so that they are better prepared for advanced-level math courses. Way noted that 21 percent of Lakeland students took less than three years of math courses; of these students, only 3 percent were college ready. Similarly, 13 percent of Lakeland students took less than three years of natural science courses; of these students, 9 percent were college ready. “We are continuing to refine our academic and career planning process,” Way said. “What that means is that we are looking at our school counselors and other people to help build those plans.” The process includes “much more communication as they are going through high school on testing and how they are doing with their dreams, as to what areas they want to pursue after high school.”

Beyond the overall score, the ACT also sets benchmark scores in four subject areas of English, mathematics, reading, and science. A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent change of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course, Way pointed out. Lakeland beat the statewide average for college English composition, but fell short of the statewide averages in college algebra, social science and biology. The percent of students ready for first year college-level coursework (with the LUHS percent listed first and then the state) were English composition, 64-56; algebra, 34-36; social science, 30-38; and biology, 20-22.

In another academic measure, the board approved course additions for the next school year: AP Computer Science Principles, grades 11-12; AP Chemistry, grades 11-12; Academic Career Planning/Personal Finance, most likely grade 11; Applied Science, grades 10-12; and AP Art Studio, grades 10-12.

In other actions, · The board accepted the resignation of Miguel Aguirre, as JV girls soccer coach and approved hiring Sheila Dallas as assistant gymnastics coach, with pay of $2,585 for the season. · The board reviewed a draft instructional calendar for the 2017-18 school year. First day of school for new students would be Sept. 1 and for all students Sept. 5. As proposed, Thanksgiving break would be Nov. 22-24, winter break Dec. 25-Jan. 1 and spring break March 12-16. · Administrator/Principal Jim Bouche announced that Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers would visit the high school on Feb. 7. His visit will last 2-3 hours, he said. Evers will visit Lac du Flambeau Elementary School on Feb. 8. · The school now has two unions once again representing its staff. Lakeland Union High School Education Association (LUHSEA) and NEST were both recertified as unions, Bouche said. LUHSEA represents the teaching staff; NEST the other staff such as maintenance and kitchen workers. NEST did not certified last year. The vote was 44 yes of 55 eligible for LUHSEA and 22 yes of 27 eligible for NEST.

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