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ACT scores rise across the board at Huntley High School
By Jameel Naqvi | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/30/2008 5:09 PM

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Test scores at Huntley High School continue to rise and beat the state average, according to the latest ACT report in Huntley Unit District 158.

Scores on the ACT, a standardized college admission test taken by high school juniors, rose across the board for the high school's Class of 2008.

The composite score - an average score of the test's four sections - rose from 20.6 in 2007 to 21.4 in 2008, a significant gain on a test that has a top score of 36.

"We're showing a trend in all areas," said Mary Olson, District 158's director of curriculum and instruction. "There is definitely continuing growth."

While the district's overall ACT score was tracking about even with the state average for the last four years, the district surged ahead this year, beating the state average by .7.

The district's improvement over last year's overall score was the largest jump the district has seen in the past four years. Last year, the district reported a gain of .3.

The district also beat its goal of improving its overall score by at least half a point annually - a goal that hasn't been met for three years.

The biggest gains came in science and English scores, which rose by 1.1 and 1, respectively. Reading scores rose by .7, while math scores rose by .4.

Three of the four subject areas tested - English, reading and science - stagnated for two or three years before recording modest gains last year and increases of more than half a point this year.

School officials said the higher scores were a product of a deliberate effort to teach students skills they would need to be successful on the ACT.

"We wanted to put our kids in the position where they were being exposed to the content that was being tested," high school Principal Dave Johnson said.

Math scores have seen the steadiest but smallest gains in recent years. While the district's science scores were a full point ahead of the state average this year, math scores, the lowest of the four areas, were only even with the state average.

"I think the big challenge certainly is math," Johnson said.

District officials said they expected scores to improve further as students who have experienced new initiatives like the freshman academy and standardized unit tests, both implemented in the past two years, take the ACT in coming years.