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By BRIAN JUSTICE
While Tullahoma is above the state average in American College Test exam results, the school system’s administration says the students can and will do better.
Dr. Dan Lawson, Tullahoma City Schools director, referred Monday to a “College Readiness” letter from American College Testing Program Inc., based in Iowa City, Iowa, that compares the school system’s test results in English, math, reading and science, plus composite information, to Tennessee statewide averages during the last five years.
Tullahoma fared better than the state in every category.
Lawson summed up his assessment to the Board of Education.
“We’re not where we want to be, but we’re on our way there,” he said.
The board agreed to review the information at a study session in September.
Lawson said Dean Holland, the system’s director of instruction will highlight the ACT information at that time.
“Our discussion with the board is not going to be about doing anything different,” Lawson said, adding that the results have followed an expected pattern because of changes in the testing process beginning in 2010.
At that time, the testing format required and included students who had not indicated they were planning to attend college, he said.
Tullahoma had 216 students take the test in 2008, with 208 in 2009. However, in 2010, there were 265 with 262 in 2011 and this past academic year.
Statewide, in 2010 the number taking the test went from 52,052 to 66,552.
Scores through all subject areas initially declined and have remained slightly lower since then for the Tullahoma and the state.
Holland said Tullahoma’s composite performance this year, a 21.5 (on a 1 to 36 scale) is good compared to the state and national averages.
The composite score includes a compilation of the English, math, reading and science results.
The state’s average composite score this past year was 19.7 while the national was 21.1
“This year’s group did quite well, and we’re quite pleased with their performance,” Holland said. “It’s a snapshot of one group, and they did really well against the state and national averages.
“We’re above those averages, and that’s good for us.”
The ACT report also indicates the estimated likelihood of how well students will academically fare in college based on their test results.
Lawson referred to the ACT “benchmarks” — an 18 in English, a 22 in math, and a 21 in science. In 2012, Tullahoma recorded a 21.5 in English, 21.6 in math, and 21.2 in science.
He said that the benchmark scores indicate that students who scored at that level have a 50 percent chance of recording a B or better letter grade at the college level and a 75 percent chance of a C or higher.
Lawson said Tullahoma’s students who advance to the college level appear to be in good shape of succeeding, based on how well their ACT results compare to the benchmark standards.