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Benet's composite ACT scores top 28 for sixth straight year
By Bob Smith | Daily Herald Staff

Students at Benet Academy in Lisle posted a composite ACT score of 28.1, the sixth straight year the class score has topped 28 out of a possible 36. Students scored highest in English.


Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Benet officials credit high ACT scores, in part, to students' English skills. Teachers in all disciplines emphasize strong writing and language skills.


Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

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Published: 8/28/2009 12:01 AM

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Benet by the numbers

Benet Academy's composite ACT scores have remained consistent - and high - over the past several years:

2005: 28.1

2006: 28.0

2007: 28.2

2008: 28.3

2009: 28.1

It's possible to get too much of a good thing.

You can eat too much ice cream. You can spend too much time in the sun. You can even exercise too much.

But the faculty and administration at Benet Academy will tell you there's one thing they never get tired of, that never becomes old hat in the hallways of the Lisle high school: ACT scores like the ones earned by the Class of 2009.

All 327 students in Benet's graduating class took the test as juniors and emerged with a composite score of 28.1 on a 36-point scale, according to numbers released last week by the Iowa-based testing group.

It marks the sixth straight year Benet's composite has topped 28 since students first broke that barrier in 2004.

It also keeps the Catholic school far above the statewide average of 20.8 and the national composite of 21.1.

Better still, more than 35 percent of this year's graduating seniors earned composite scores of 30 or higher.

"It's certainly delightful," Principal Stephen Marth said.

Successful ACT scores are hardly the be-all and end-all of education, Marth said, but they are "one measure of how successful kids are and how hard their teachers work to help them be successful."

All Illinois high school graduates must take the ACT, which tests their skills in English, math, reading and science.

Marth said this year's class performed best in English, where students averaged a 29.6 - the highest score in any category since he became principal five years ago.

Those results, he said, reflect "a great deal of hard work and emphasis on traditional grammar as freshmen and then on other aspects of English through their four years."

He said teachers in all disciplines at Benet stress the need to write and communicate well - and it seems to be paying off.

Benet's overall scores, which have fluctuated between 28.0 and 28.3 over the past six years, are remarkably steady with only subtle variations from class to class, Marth said.

But if students were expecting banners and brass bands to celebrate the school's academic accomplishments on the first day of classes Monday, they likely were disappointed.

"We try to be kind of low-key about it," Marth said.

"I don't want our students to think of themselves as a number, even if it's a good number," he said. "They are so much more significant than a single number.

"We cherish the youngsters we have in our midst far beyond an ACT score."