Toledo, Perrysburg School Districts react to national report of low ACT scores

Toledo, Perrysburg School Districts react to national report of low ACT scores
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)

(WTOL) - Some startling numbers just released this week show the nation's latest high school graduates may not be ready for college.

The report is based on ACT scores from the last school year. The testing company said only 38 percent of graduating seniors who took the ACT hit the college-prepared benchmark. That's down from around 40 percent last year.

The testing agency says it may be because more students are taking the college entrance exam.

Administrators at Toledo Public Schools say they're always working to make sure their students are ready for college. The district says it offers fee waivers, for students to take the ACT or SAT, twice, at no charge. Plus, 500 students are already taking college courses and students start early preparing for college with the PSAT.

"They take the PSAT test in 8th grade and in 10th grade so we can start looking at their deficiencies and try to develop lessons and strategies," said Jim Gault, Executive Transformational Leader of Curriculum at TPS.

Ohio's ACT composite score, which is an average of the scores from the four subjects tested, was 22. That is above the national composite score of 20.8.

The number could actually go down as the state of Ohio, new this year, will require all 11th graders to take the ACT or SAT. It is up to individual districts to choose which test they'll go with and the state will pay. TPS hasn't decided which test it will choose, but will decide next month.

Perrysburg believes it will go with the SAT.

"Our kids do really well, but we have room for growth," said Michael Short, Principal of Perrysburg High School.

Short says 48 percent of his students hit the college-ready benchmark, well above the national average, but still shy of half. He says the benchmarks are very high, so the district focuses on pushing beyond state standards to help students reach them.

"In my opinion, if we try to get those standards and we try to exceed those standards, get more in-depth to it, the students are going to benefit in any test that they're given," said Short.

He says part of the district's success is the culture that "they will do well." Also, preparation begins in 7th grade, with the PSAT. Short adds 90 percent of PHS graduates go on to two or four year schools.

The College Board expects to release updated 2016 numbers for the SAT in the fall.
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