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SUPERINTENDENT: Celebrating ACT, AP test success

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We, as a school district, are committed to each student’s success. 

One of the key ways we measure our success is by how well our students perform on national assessments compared to similar students from other states. 

As mentioned in previous columns, we are about to receive the scores from the state assessment that our students took last spring. This test was brand-new and unlike any tests the state had previously used to measure student learning. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Kentucky’s new standards and assessment system, I encourage you read more on our website, Oldham.kyschools.us.

However, we don’t have to wait for these results to get feedback on how last year’s high school students performed. We already have positive outcomes on a couple of key measures of student learning. 

For example, in Kentucky, all 11th graders are required to take the ACT. 

The ACT is a college entrance examination that determines a student’s readiness for college-level work. 

While we have many ways of determining whether students can demonstrate the 21st century skills that are our focus, the ACT is a reliable measuring stick of how well our students are prepared to answer the complex questions used by the ACT to measure college readiness. This is the same ACT that you may have taken while you were in high school and preparing for your post-high school future. 

Unlike Kentucky, not all states require all high school students to take the ACT, but thousands of students across the nation take it every year as a part of the college admission process. 

On last year’s ACT, as you can see from the chart below, Oldham County students scored an average of 22.2. 

This is our highest average in the last five years of data reported. 

To appreciate the significance of this score, you need only compare this result to the statewide student average of 19. 

The chart also demonstrates that our students excel closer to home. You can see how our students compare to other districts in our region — the 12 districts comprising the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative region. 

In states other than Kentucky, students usually take this test during their senior year when they are preparing to apply to colleges. 

The national average for these students, who were seniors (a year older) last year, was 19.8. 

Another yardstick we use to gauge how well our students are prepared for the future once they leave high school is the number of students who are able to take and pass Advanced Placement classes. 

AP tests are administered by the College Board each spring, after students have completed a rigorous, college-level course taught by a trained teacher. 

In recognition of our efforts to not only increase the number of tests administered, but also maintain one of the highest pass rates in the state, we were awarded, for the second year in a row, the AP Honor Roll distinction. The Oldham County Schools district is one of two districts in the state to earn this award for two consecutive years, and one of 376 districts nationwide to earn it in 2012. 

OCS’s strong platform for Advanced Placement courses is providing hundreds of students a year with an opportunity to get a jump start on college and prepare for their post-secondary futures.

Our district continues to be unique when compared to other Kentucky districts.

We have a community that is supportive of our “award-winning schools” — to quote nearly every advertisement for real estate in Oldham County. 

We have parents who are supportive of their child’s school and our district. We have students who are engaged and motivated learners. 

We have a group of hard-working men and women serving in every facet of our school district who are dedicated and talented, and fully focused on doing what’s in the best interest of students to provide for their safety and ensure their learning. 

We have exceptional board members who are involved and actively support our staff and the initiatives we have in place that are being effective in their impact on students. 

Test results only tell part of our story. We continue to be proud of our young people and the many contributions they are making to our community right now. 

Students of all ages are donating their time and talents to improve their neighborhoods or help others who might be in need of some assistance. 

 

Will Wells is the superintendent of Oldham County Schools. He can be reached at 241-3500 or will.wells@oldham.kyschools.us. The views in this column are those of the writer.