Local diocesan school students outpace state, national ACT scores

Standardized test results suggest that recent graduates of the three Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Jefferson City are well prepared to weather their first year of college and complete their degree.
2017 graduates of Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School in Columbia, Helias Catholic High School in Jefferson City and Sacred Heart High School in Sedalia exceeded the average scores of Missouri graduates on the latest ACT student assessment.
ACT is a national, independent organization responsible for testing college readiness for high school students. Its curriculum-based achievement test measures the skills taught in schools deemed important for success in first-year college courses.
Results published last week indicate that 242 students from the three Catholic high schools in the diocese achieved a composite average score of 23.4, compared to a statewide average of 20.4 and a nationwide average of 21.0.
Subtests indicate the extent to which students are prepared to be successful in college-level courses.
In all four subject areas in the ACT — English, Mathematics, Reading and Science — students of the diocesan high schools averaged scores above the benchmark set by ACT, indicating a 50-percent chance of a B or higher or about a 75-percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing college courses.
Diocesan high school administrators and faculty use these results to evaluate course offerings and continuously work to improve instruction and student learning.
Colleges and universities often use these scores as part of their entrance requirements.
ACT research shows that students who meet the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are more likely to persist in college and earn a degree than those who don’t.
“Many colleges and universities base their admissions, scholarship and advising decisions on ACT scores,” said Kenya Fuemmeler, principal of Helias Catholic, where the 2017 graduating class’ composite ACT scores averaged 23.9.
“We are very pleased our scores are above the state and national averages, but we are always digging deeper into the data to see what we can improve to help prepare our students,” she said.
Helias students did especially well in English and reading; the 2017 graduates’ average English score of 24.8 exceeded the 19.8 statewide average and the 20.3 national average. Average reading scores for Helias students were 24.2, compared to 20.8 and 21.4 nationally.
These scores tied with the highest scores Helias graduates have ever earned in both areas.
“We are very pleased with the quality of our instruction and the academic achievements of our students,” stated Ms. Fuemmeler.
Eleven percent of Helias’ 2017 graduating class qualified for a State of Missouri scholarship designation called Bright Flight by scoring a 31 or higher on the ACT.
More information on the ACT can be found at: www.act.org.

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