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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Arlington HS Rocks out on ACT, Leads State with 26.07 Average

So that's how they landed that call center...

Standardized tests are a game, with test scores as arbitrary as football scores. But if you have to play the game, you might as well play it well. Arlington High School has played the ACT game very well. KJAM reports that Arlington posted the highest average ACT score in South Dakota, a whopping 26.07.

Numerical perspective: 36 is perfect on the ACT. But that doesn't mean Arlington scored a 72%; scores are normally distributed around a mean that, in 2008, was 21.1. Anything in the 30s is generally regarded as remarkable. SDSU considers 24 enough to qualify for the Jackrabbit Gurantee. In 2008, South Dakota's state average was 22.0. Beating 26 as a group average is pretty darn good.

Arlington principal Rhonda Gross tries to keep the bar low, telling KJAM she's not sure Arlington's next crop of test-takers will be able to score so high. But I say keep the heat on those kids, Rhonda! When you win the state track meet or one-act contest, you don't tell the kids and parents, "Well, we probably can't pull that off again." You mount that big plaque on the wall where every kid can see it and tell them every day, "If they can do it, you can do it!"

Congrats to the students and teachers of Arlington High School, enrollment 102—keep up the good work!

1 comment:

  1. Rutland students ranked 5th highest in the state on the 2008 ACT exam. It is interesting to note as well that Brookings was the only large school in the top ten list of school districts for this assessment.

    I would certainly agree with Cory that this test score business is indeed a game, but it is one that is played against us as well when small class sizes are compared to the state average (and other schools) with the NCLB stuff.

    In all fairness, larger sample sizes are more likely to produce an average score in the middle of the bell curve. This puts larger school districts at a disadvantage with these comparisons I suppose, but the facts of small school achievement still stand.

    While some years at Rutland are better than others with the ACT average, even in off years we still produce scores at or close to the state average.
    As long as there continues to be people who believe that graduates of small high schools are somehow missing out or are not competitive, we will have to continue to pound the facts of the ACT results and other indicators to the contrary.

    I will take the real world reality of the ACT test and the Board of Regents High School Transition report over NCLB data any day as the best indicators of how well any high school prepares their graduates for life in the academic fast lane, job market, etc.


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