Determining how well Caverna’s Class of 2009 did on the ACT last year is hard to define, according to the district superintendent, while officials in Metcalfe County said their students can do better.

Because it was the first time juniors statewide were required to take the test, Caverna, like many other districts, didn’t have data with which to compare scores.

“We don’t have any trend data, because this ACT, unlike previous years, included all of our juniors,” said Dr. Sam Dick, superintendent. The results, he said, helped establish the district’s benchmark for future scores.

On Thursday, the Kentucky Department of Education released ACT scores for the Class of 2009. The test was administered last spring to high school juniors at public high schools.

The state average scores were: English, 17.3; math, 18.1; reading, 18.5; and science, 18.7. The state’s composite score is 18.3.

Caverna’s average scores in each subject were: English, 15.9; math, 16.7; reading, 17.6; and science, 17.8. The district had a composite score of 17.1.

“I was eagerly anticipating seeing how we did, because I didn’t know how this would come out,” Dick said.

As it turns out, Caverna’s scores were better than expected.

“One of the things that I think has to be noted is they have what they call ‘core or more’ and ‘less than core.’ Basically, what they are referring to is those who have taken college prep courses versus those who do not,” he said.

Caverna High School offered students a choice of three diploma programs — standard, enrichment and comprehensive — before 2007. The district began offering just one diploma in 2007.

Typically, students who received the comprehensive diploma were college-bound.

“We still have some kids that are on the three-tier diploma,” Dick said. “So some have not had the full advantage of taking ‘core or more’ courses.”

He pointed out that students who took the “core or more” courses scored higher on the ACT than those who did not. Scores for students who took the “core or more” courses were: English, 17.1; math, 17.1; reading, 19.5; and science, 18.7. Those students had a composite score of 18.2.

Scores for students who took the “less than core” courses were: English, 13.2; math, 15.8; and reading, 13.3; science, 16.0. Those students had a composite score of 14.7.

Metcalfe County school officials say their students have room for improvement. The student scores were: English, 15.6; math, 16.3; reading, 16.4; and science, 16.9. The students had a composite score of 16.4.

“Our goals and expectations in the Metcalfe County Schools encompass much more than improving the ACT or CATS scores,” said Patricia Hurt, superintendent.

It is this group of ACT scores that will count toward Kentucky public schools’ annual assessments. Included in the Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) are the ACT, EXPLORE and PLAN exams.

A law adopted in 2006 by the Kentucky General Assembly requires all 11th-grade students to take the ACT beginning with the 2007-08 school year. The same law required eighth-graders to take the EXPLORE exam and high school sophomores to take the PLAN exam beginning this year. It costs the state about $1.4 million to implement EPAS each year, said Gross.

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