While ACT test scores in Illinois and across the country remain stagnant, Evanston Township High School posted its highest scores in school history, improving nearly one point each in math, English, reading, science, and the composite score. A report detailing these results was presented to the District 202 School Board at its Sept. 15 meeting.

It is “incredible” to increase scores by nearly a point, Pete Bavis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, told the Board.

The test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. Between 2014 and 2015, English ACT scores at ETHS went from 22.9 to 23.8, science from 22.3 to 23.4, math from 23.0 to 23.8, reading from 23.2 to 24.1 and the composite score from 23.0 to 23.9. The average composite ACT score in Illinois is 20.7, slightly below the national average of 21. Previously, ETHS reported its highest ACT scores in 2009 and 2010 when the average composite score was 23.5 each year. 

These scores are the average of all students who took the ACT, which in 2015 was the entire junior class. “We mean everyone” in the junior class, stressed Dr. Bavis, which includes English Language Learners and special education students who are allowed extended time accommodations. Starting this year, ACT is not a requirement for all juniors. Statistically, the states that test more students, such as Illinois, are more likely to report lower overall composite scores since they include students who are not college-bound. However, the Illinois State Board of Education reports that Illinois ties with Colorado as the highest scores of the 13 states that test all students.

“How difficult is that to achieve in a group this size?” asked Board member Mark Metz. These results are “pretty significant” responded Carrie Levy, ETHS director of research, evaluation and assessment.

“We would expect that we would not grow in at least one area,” stated Board President Pat Savage-Williams. She called the results “impressive.”

“Just you wait to see the achievement report,” responded Dr. Bavis. The Student Achievement Report will be presented at the Oct. 26 Board meeting.