Challis High School students who took the ACT standardized test to assess college readiness scored slightly behind their statewide peers on average composite scores for each of the past five years, a report shows.

The current ACT report shows improvement over previous scores, which were farther behind the state average.

Statewide composite scores have been slightly ahead of Challis scores: 22.4 to 20.6 in 2014, 22.7 to 21.8 in 2015, 22.7 to 19.8 in 2016, 22.3 to 19.6 in 2017, and 22.3 to 21.3 in 2018, Superintendent Lani Rembelski’s report to the school board shows.

A perfect ACT composite score is 36 in all four subject areas — English, math, reading and science. Less than 1 percent of students attain it nationwide.

In the individual subject areas, Challis students came closest to the statewide score in 2015 in reading with a 23.3 score, compared to 23.4.

Challis students topped the state in preparation for college-level coursework in two areas, algebra and social science, according to the report. ACT test administrators show that 56 percent of Challis students were prepared for college algebra, compared to 49 percent of students statewide. And 63 percent of Challis students were prepared for college social studies, compared to 58 percent across Idaho.

Challis was behind the state in preparation for college English composition, 67 percent to 73 percent. It is also significantly behind in college biology, 30 percent to 46 percent. Just 15 percent of Challis students taking the ACT were considered prepared for college in all four areas, compared to 34 percent of all Idaho students, according to the report.

A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher grade in college courses.

At the end of the report, ACT offers a college readiness action plan for schools and mentions ACT programs designed to help schools improve college readiness for students. Suggestions include:

• Establishing collaborative partnerships with post-secondary institutions for a shared understanding of what students need to know to be prepared for college.

• Creating a school culture that identifies and communicates the need for all students to meet or exceed benchmarks.

• Reviewing and evaluating the rigor and alignment of English, mathematics and science courses to ensure the skills leading to readiness for college-level work are taught.

• Monitoring and measuring student progress and using college readiness assessments to make timely interventions with students who are not making adequate progress in meeting benchmarks.

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