Juniors in the Waukesha School District scored above the state average on the ACT last year, according to recently released data.
The district recorded an average composite score of 20.4, just slightly above the 20.0 state average.
Last year was the first time all public school juniors had the opportunity to take the college admissions exam, compared to the 60 percent of the student body that took the exam in previous years. Due to the increase in students, the district doesn't have a comprehensive district benchmark to compare these scores to Superintendent Todd Gray said.
'Certainly, beating the state average is positive and creates a foundation from which to build on,' Gray said.
District ACT scores from the 2014-2015 year are higher than state averages across the board. Waukesha juniors scored an average of 19.9 on English language arts, which was just slightly lower than the 20.2 district average for math and 20.6 for science. State averages are 19.3, 20.0 and 20.2 respectively, with the highest possible score of 36.
'We have typically been above the state average by 0.5 or more each of the last eight to 10 years,' Gray said. 'It has been a combination of solid curriculum, dedicated teachers, and students with a strong desire to do well on the exam.'
Among Waukesha School District juniors, scores follow state trends, which show minority, disabled and economically disadvantaged students are outperformed by white students, who had the highest average composite score of 21.4. (the state average is 20.8).
Asian students averaged a score of 20.2, while Hispanic students averaged 17.0 and black students averaged 16.4. Of black and Hispanic students, about 75 percent tested below ACT college readiness levels in English language arts, and close to 55 percent tested below those levels in mathematics.
Waukesha West had the highest average score for all public district high schools with an average score of 21.3.
Waukesha North tested above average as well with a score of 20.6.
Waukesha South fell below the state average with an average composite score of 18.8. However, that's due to the fact that about a quarter of the higher scoring students out of the 1,400 South students are not included in South's comprehensive score. This group of students' scores are reported separately as part of the Waukesha School District's Engineering Prep Academy charter school and Health Occupations Academy charter school, both of which are housed at South.
'Everything we do academically goes to readying students for college or career,' Gray said. 'We continue to focus on innovative and relevant instructional approaches and programs, including building our personalized learning instructional qualities. But it's important to remember that so much of what we do to prepare students for their post-high school life cannot be gauged by a single ACT score.'