Students from Harlan Independent School District continue to outpace state and national averages on the ACT exam, Superintendent C.D. Morton said at a meeting of the Harlan Independent Board of Education on Thursday.
Results from the 2013-2014 administration of the ACT show that Harlan High School students outperformed the state average in every assessment area, which includes English, math, reading and science, culminating with a 21.8 average composite ACT score, nearly two points higher than the state average of 19.9.
According to Morton, Harlan High School students have outscored the state over the last five years and this year’s results are the highest in recent school history.
“We are really excited to see these kinds of results from our students,” said Morton. “When your average student is able to achieve nearly a 22 on the ACT, you know you are getting your core curriculum correct. We have work to do, because we believe we can do even better in the future.”
College benchmark scores are the minimum scores needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding college level course. Nearly one-third or 32 percent of all Harlan High School students assessed met the college benchmark scores in every area, while one-half or 50 percent met the college benchmark scores in at least three assessment areas according to Morton. He added both figures far outpace the state average for those students meeting the college benchmark scores.
Britt Lawson, principal of Harlan High School, attributed this success to the high academic standards and the dedicated staff at the school.
“Being a Green Dragon is not easy because our faculty and staff have high expectations for our students each and every year,” said Lawson. “We encourage all our students to know more, do more and achieve more and they generally rise to the occasion.”
Morton said ACT research has shown that it is the rigor of coursework, rather than simply the number of core courses that has the greatest impact on ACT performance and college readiness.
“Establishing high expectations, exposure to a rigorous curriculum and creating a common focus for faculty and students are a few of the vital steps necessary to ensure that all students are ready for college and work,” said Morton. “Those are some of our strengths and we will continue to work with that in mind so that every child graduating from Harlan High School is prepared for the future.”
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde