Breaking down Fort Zumwalt scores

The ACT scores are out and Fort Zumwalt School District again averages better than the state and the nation. The Class of 2016 composite score is 21.2. The Class of 2017 scored a 21.4 on state administration day. But how can the school district have two scores? And what do these numbers mean?

The 21.2 is the final score for the class that graduated last spring. Many students take the ACT more than once, and their best score goes into this average. However, beginning with the Class of 2016, Missouri became one of 18 states to require all juniors to take the ACT on “state administration day.” Across Missouri, juniors sat down for the test during the school day. With this requirement, the percentage of graduating seniors who had an ACT score to submit greatly increased.

In 2015, before the requirement, 71 percent of Fort Zumwalt’s graduating class took the test, according to Mike Neil, the district’s Executive Director of Data and Assessment. “95 percent of the graduating seniors in 2016 took the test,” he said, “370 more kids.”

As state officials explained to St. Louis Public Radio, testing more students creates a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison when looking at the last two graduating classes. But, last spring as juniors, the Class of 2017 sat down and took the ACT. As scores continue to come in, a better comparison from 2016 to 2017 will come into focus.

On April 19 (“state administration day”), 96 percent of Fort Zumwalt juniors took the test, scoring a 21.4. The state score for that day was 19.7. As some of these students continue to take the test in an effort to improve their standing for college applications, their best score will be added to create the Class of 2017 senior composite score. And in April, the Class of 2018 will sit down on “state administration day.”

“The state’s requirement to administer the ACT to all of our juniors really gives us a good picture of where our students are compared with other Missouri students,” said Jen Waters, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “Additionally, it allows us to have a true comparison with the rest of the nation because they all took the same test.” 

To learn more, use links at left for the St. Louis Public Radio story and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education information.

ACT scores
Posted on 08/29/2016
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Composite scores in states that tested 100 percent of graduating students from highest composite score to lowest composite score:

Minnesota – 21.1
Illinois – 20.8
Colorado – 20.6
Wisconsin – 20.5
Michigan – 20.3
North Dakota – 20.3
Montana – 20.3
Missouri – 20.2
Utah – 20.2
Kentucky – 20.0
Wyoming – 20.0
Tennessee – 19.9
Louisiana – 19.5
Alabama – 19.1
North Carolina – 19.1
South Carolina – 18.5
Mississippi – 18.4
Nevada – 17.7