Standardized test scores at Medical Lake High School remained steady in recent years, including the latest numbers for the class of 2013, which were recently released.
Director of Teaching and Learning Kim Headrick gave a brief report on SAT and ACT scores from the 2012-2013 school year at the Oct. 22 school board meeting.
Approximately 45 percent of seniors at Medical Lake High School took the SAT. Reading scores were at 497, writing scores at 464 and math scores at 491 for the school year.
Those taking the ACT were much fewer in number, with only 16 percent of seniors taking the test, coming in at around 27 seniors. Reading scores averaged 23.4, English scores averaged 23.1, math averaged 22.6 and science scores averaged 22.1.
Headrick noted that all of the ACT scores were above the state average, with one exception.
“Outside of math, all of these scores were above the state average,” she said. “And we’ve had some growth in our ACT over the last five years, about two points. We have a plan that we’re focusing and working on.”
SAT scores were also on target.
“In terms of writing, that was probably our weakest area,” she said regarding the SAT scores.
Language arts teachers were beginning to focus more on the different types of texts: arguments, explanatory and inflammatory. Using and citing effective resources were also among the topics discussed with teachers in recent weeks, she said.
Headrick said that nationwide, there was one standout reason why students weren’t meeting levels of readiness for college: the text complexity on the ACT.
“It’s not whether they know the main idea or have a strategy for attacking the reading or if they understand the inferences. It’s the level of the complexity of the text,” she said. “As it got greater, their scores and readiness dropped.”
High school principal John McSmith said the participation numbers would improve if the school became a testing site. Currently, students must go to other schools in order to complete the test.
Superintendent Dr. Pam Veltri also noted that middle school students can now take the Explore test, which lists the areas in which students should focus for a better score on the SAT or ACT. Outside of their senior year, students can take either standardized test in their sophomore or junior year.
It was also suggested to focus on parent education as well, to help parents be able to guide children through the test preparation process.
“We need to make a multi-pronged attempt,” Headrick said.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.