The Elmbrook School District's ACT composite score dipped slightly in 2012-13, but student participation increased, according to recently released data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Last year, students attending Brookfield Central and Brookfield East high schools attained a 24.9 composite score, down from the 25.4 earned in the 2011-12 school year.
The highest score a student can earn on the ACT is 36.0.
As has been the case in the past, Elmbrook outperformed the state average of 22.0.
Participation on the rise
Overall, 87.4 percent of students in the two schools took the standardized test, which is required by many colleges and universities as a prerequisite for admission. In 2011-12, 84.5 percent of the high schools' juniors and seniors took the test.
Going back 10 years, to the 2002-03 school year, participation has jumped nearly 10 percent. A decade ago, 77.8 percent of Elmbrook's juniors and seniors took the ACT.
Despite the minor decline, year over year, Dana Monogue, assistant superintendent for educational services, said the district is pleased with the results. The goal, she said, is to continue fostering an environment that encourages students to take the ACT and give them the tools to prepare for the exam.
"I think many of our students are serious about college," Monogue said. "We have strong collaboration in this district between our counselors, teachers and administrative staff."
Superintendent Mark Hansen said the district is able to glean many positive results from the figures.
"Through their ACT participation, the Class of 2013 reflects our shared value of a post-secondary education," Hansen said. "The overall achievement earned the 2013 graduates over $4.5 million in post-secondary scholarships, which is the most accumulated by any Elmbrook class."
Student participation between Central and East has fluctuated in recent years. This past year, more East students — 89 percent — took the ACT, compared to the 87.1 percent who took it at Central. But in the previous 2011-12 school year, 85.6 percent of Central students took it, compared to the 84.9 percent at East.
The 25.4 composite score attained in the 2011-12 school year was a high for the district. In recent years, Elmbrook has been on a steady climb from the 24.4 composite score notched in the 2008-09 school year.
"We hope this isn't the beginning of a downward trend," Monogue said of the 2012-13 results. "But we are pleased more students are taking the ACT."
Monogue said the district is constantly evaluating its curriculum, including the core subject areas of English, math and science.
"We are asking our teachers to collaborate with one another on a consistent basis," Monogue said. "We believe this is important."
Beginning next year, the district will begin an earnest push to have all upper-level high school students take the ACT.
In a statement, Emily Greiber, director of data, assessment and accountability, said the district will aim to increase student participation while sustaining the composite score.
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