Mustang ACT scores retreat

By Carolyn Cole
Published on August 30, 2008

Mustang High School’s ACT scores slid back to 21.7 in 2008 after results cracked 22 last year for the first time in a decade.

Mustang was outscored by 28 other Oklahoma high schools, according to data released by the Oklahoma Department of Education.

Oklahoma scores ranged from an average of 31.5 by Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics students to 14.1 scored by Riverside Indian School in Anadarko. Mustang students outpaced the 2008 national average at 21.1 and the state average at 20.7.

The American College Testing exam is scored on a 36-point scale with English, math, reading and science subscores. The standardized test aims to measure students’ chances of success in college and is widely used by colleges in the region to place students and in scholarship considerations.

Although Mustang’s score decreased, Secondary Curriculum Coordinator Geoff Kingsley said the district has seen an increase in the number of seniors taking the test. In 2008, 365 seniors in the 530-student class took the ACT, compared to 327 seniors from 473 Class of 2007 graduates.
Almost 70 percent of seniors took the test in both years.

“I think we are doing a great job in terms of preparing kids to be successful in college,” he said.

Mustang’s score led results among Canadian County districts — Yukon held steady at 21.5; Piedmont scored 21.1; Calumet, 20.3; El Reno, 19.6; and Union City, 19.4.

Among 6A high schools, ranked by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association as the largest in student population, Mustang High School ranked fifth in enrollment and 13th in ACT scores.
Edmond North High School students scored an average 23.9, the top result for the class. Other 6A schools with higher average ACT scores than Mustang are Edmond Memorial, Jenks, Norman and Norman North, all tied at 23.5; Stillwater, 23.1; Putnam City North, 22.7; Bartlesville, 22.6; Ponca City and Tulsa Union, tied at 22.5; Edmond Santa Fe, 22.3 and Broken Arrow, 22.

Other 6A high school scores are Owasso, 21.6; Yukon, 21.5; Moore and Putnam City, tied at 21,4; Enid, 21.1; Lawton Eisenhower, 20.7; Sand Springs, 20.4; Lawton, 20.3; Del City, Choctaw and Putnam City West, tied at 20.2; Sapulpa, 19.8; Tulsa Memorial, 19.6; Midwest City, 19.5; Muskogee, 19.2; Tulsa East Central, 18; and U.S. Grant, 16.8.

Kingsley said Mustang’s goal is for students to score an average of 24 on the ACT, the minimum needed to enter University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University without taking remedial classes.

“I think a worthwhile goal is to say the average kid in Mustang should be able to apply at OU or OSU based on their ACT score,” he said.

Based on ACT scores, Kingsley said officials believe students who score at least an 18 on the ACT English section, 22 in math and 24 in science reasoning are prepared for freshman level work.
Mustang’s average composites in 2008 are 21.6 in English, 20.7 in math, 21.5 in science and 22.4 in reading.

According to the 2007 Profiles report released by the state Office of Accountability, one-third of Mustang High School graduates in the classes of 2004 through 2006 entering college took at least one remedial class. That average is higher than for graduates of similar high schools, 25 percent, but lower than the state average, 36 percent.

Kingsley said officials continue their search to find ways to help students prepare for the ACT and college. A group of principals are studying best practices adopted at high schools in other states, he said, and their first recommendation will be implemented this fall.

MHS Principal Terry Tipton said 10th-grade teachers moved their classes to the school’s South, Central and West buildings, with the exception of science lab classes. Most sophomores take their core classes with the same group of students, similar to the design of the middle school and mid-high programs.

“Our goal is to make it a smoother transition from the ninth-grade center to the high school,” Tipton said.

There are exceptions, he said, adding allowances were made if a student wanted a particular elective that would have conflicted with the group’s schedule.

Kingsley said moving teachers’ classes, grouped by grade level, allows “professional learning communities” to form.

“We have some of these in place in elementary schools,” he said. “It’s happened a little with the teaming concept at middle level.”

If the idea proves successful in 10th-grade, Tipton said officials will consider implementing it among 11th-grade and 12th-grade classes.

Another pilot project is Mustang High School’s advisory class period, added to Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Each student is assigned to an advisory teacher who they will have throughout high school.

In advisory, students will learn about conflict resolution, test-taking skills, preparing for college, financial literacy and career planning. The time will also be used for assemblies.

Class sizes average about 17 youth per class, and Tipton said school officials hope advisory teachers will form bonds with their students and become another advocate for the youth.


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