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Whitnall's ACT Scores Highest in at Least 17 Years

Greenfield's scores from 2011-12, however, dipped slightly from last year and were below the state average.

With more rigourous academic standards now mandated by the state, Whitnall Superintendent Lowell Holtz was certainly pleased with today’s news that his district appears headed on the right path.

Whitnall’s composite ACT test score for the 2011-12 school year of 23.4 surpassed last year’s mark of 23.2 as the district’s highest mark in the 17 years of data stored on the Department of Public Instruction website, according to statewide test results released by the DPI on Wednesday.

Whitnall’s score was also higher than the state average of 22.1.

“What it reflects positively on is the teachers in the district, and (the score) keeps going up because our administrators are working on giving every opportunity to allow teachers to help the students academically,” Holtz said. “It’s been a good team effort.”

Whitnall set the composite-score bar higher than ever with improvements across the board in all four of the test’s subject categories.

The district’s 22.8 average score in English set the new high over the last 17 years, and the average science score of 23.9 tied the high-water mark set in 2010-11.The district’s math score of 23.0 was second only to the 23.4 score in 1997-98, and Whitnall’s average reading score was 23.3, its third-highest total in the last 17 years.

“We want the ACT scores to keep going up, obviously,” Holtz said. “We want them scoring closer to 30 than in the 20s and that can happen over time. … With the state raising expectations, it will be a good time for kids. Once the shock factor is over as far as the new reporting goes, we’ll get them to the new bar.”

Of Whitnall’s 220 students, 155, or 70.5 percent took the test, slightly below the state average of 71 percent but higher than last year’s total of 69.5. The 2006-07 class set the bar for percent tested with 77.2.

Greenfield's scores dip

Across town, Greenfield’s 2011-12 composite score of 20.9 matched the district’s 2009-10 total as the second-lowest score in the last 17 years, according to DPI data.

The district’s lowest composite score during that time frame was 20.7 in 2008-09; its highest was 22.1 in 1998-99. The most recent score marked a slight dip from the previous year when Greenfield scored a composite 21.1.

Greenfield students saw marginal dips in all four categories. They scored a 20.9 in reading (it was 21.0 in 2010-11), 20.2 in English (20.3 in 2010-11), 20.7 in math (20.8 in 2010-11) and 21.3 in science (21.7 in 2010-11).

The English score marked the second straight year Greenfield scored above 20 after four consecutive sub-20 marks.

The percentage of Greenfield students tested was the highest it’s been since at least 1995-96 as 185 of 253 students, or 73.1 percent were tested, nearly 10 percentage points higher than any other year during that period and above the state average of 71 percent, which ranked second in the nation (tied with Iowa).

The district did not immediately respond to Patch's email request for comments.

Across the state

Wisconsin’s 2012 composite score on the ACT was 22.1, a full point ahead of the nationwide composite score of 21.1. Minnesota’s composite score was 22.8.

The state had 47,588 graduates who took the ACT at some time during their high school career. The class of 2012 was the state’s most diverse with 20.3 percent of students identifying themselves as being from a racial or ethnic minority group. Participation in ACT testing more than doubled among Hispanic students since 2008 and was up 47 percent among Black / African American students, due in part to districtwide testing in Milwaukee Public Schools that began in 2010.

“Results on the ACT show strong statewide achievement and that vast majority of students are taking a college preparatory curriculum,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in a statement. “Businesses have told us and research bears out that college ready and career ready both require rigorous high school study. These ACT results also show us that we have work to do to make sure every graduate has the college and career readiness skills they will need for success in the workforce or further education.”

John Seymour August 22, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Boy, Conrad sure has things pointed in the right direction (ha ha). 2nd LOWEST score in 17 years...keep up the good work! I feel bad for kids in Greenfield Schools
KM August 23, 2012 at 01:15 PM
How is he doing that?
Lee August 23, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Gee KM, he runs the show doesn't he? That is exactly where the blame should go.
KM August 23, 2012 at 02:36 PM
So he controls what the teachers say and do. I get it now. My kids are being taught by puppets.
Derek August 23, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Under the current administration, ACT scores and WKCE scores have continually declined. The WKCE scores are some of the lowest in the area. They have driven the train of mediocrity right off the cliff. What has contributed to the decline? - All but eliminating gifted and talented programs. - Increased emphasis on athletics over academics. - Gutting programs like band that contribute to academic excellence. The HS used to have an outstanding, nationally recognized wind ensemble. - Scheduling AP classes up against other academic enrichment activities (like music). - Loss of truly outstanding teachers who held students to high standards. Teachers who refuse to "dumb down" their classes so "everyone" can get good grades are harassed and reassigned. In any private organization (and most other school districts), these people would have been run out of town years ago. Let's hope they keep up the good work and maybe next year we can be at the bottom of the WKCE scores and get that ACT score under 20!
John Seymour August 23, 2012 at 04:56 PM
KM...when Conrad decided that he will have control over everything he made the choice to take the good with the bad. GSD has lost over 30 great people in the past 2 years. Conrad and Todd make the decisions on what will be taught and not taught and HOW it will be taught. If you decide not to follow what they say you will be gone. Also, do not speak up and disagree...it will get ugly. That is a small example of how HE is doing that.
Lee August 23, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Come on now! I see, when all else fails, blame the teachers. He is their head coach, so of course he gets the blame. Under his direction many fine teachers have already left the school district. Gee maybe if you got to know your children's teachers you would not be saying such things. Being an AWOL parent gives you no rights at all.
KM August 23, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Lee- I take my kids to school and pick them up every day. I speak with their teachers daily when I pick them up. I even talk to the principal when she has time. In addition, I volunteer at the school on a weekly basis. Guess what - I also attend the PTO meetings! Why do you think I am AWOL? I really do want to know what's going on in my children's life.
Ann August 23, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Derek is correct - if it has anthing to do with athletics - admin will trip over their feet to get something done - but if it is for music or anything else - they could give a rats butt. Heard that the entire Principle of engineering class flunked their exam last year - even the all of the ones that had straight A's during the entire year. Therefore, none of them were able to earn the college credit.
Lee August 23, 2012 at 10:14 PM
You stated your children were being taught by puppets. That sure did not sound like an informed parent to me. So now you are saying you speak with the teachers daily and even the principal and you attend school PTO meetings and your opinion is that the educators are puppets???? Wow, that is a profound statement.

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