When it came to the class of 2011 and the ACT exam, Larkin and Batavia high schools had a huge increase in composite score. Three other Fox Valley school districts increased a bit, two stayed the same, two other districts dipped slightly, and two more districts fell below state and national averages.
The ACT measures students' readiness for college and is mandatory in Illinois, where 144,469 students from the class of 2011 sat for the test.
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Batavia School District 101 posted an ACT composite score of 23.4, a gain of five-tenths of a point from the previous year.
St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 boasted its second highest composite score of 23.4 since 2002.
But that score was two-tenths of a point less than its previous composite high of 23.6 in 2010. Superintendent Donald Schlomann said the dip is no cause for concern and was fully expected, based on the results from ACT-related tests the class took as underclassmen.
"When you've got a group of children year to year, you're going to have little fluctuations," Schlomann said, adding that the class of 2011's composite score in science of 23.1 is the highest it's ever been. "Right now, I'm very happy."
Geneva Community Unit School District's composite score of 24.1 was one-tenth of a point lower than last year's score, but still the highest composite score in the area.
Even with the slight drop, Geneva, like St. Charles, was still above the state's average composite score of 20.9 and the national average composite of 21.1.
"We are very proud of our students for achieving these high scores," Geneva Superintendent Kent Mutchler said in a statement. "We are also very thankful to our staff and parents for the value that they place on education in Geneva and for their caring work to help our students succeed."
Burlington-based Central Unit District 301 did not see a change from last year's composite score of 22, Superintendent Todd Stirn said. The composite score for the Kaneland High School also held steady at 21.3. Scores were not available from West Aurora School District 129.
On the northern end of the Fox Valley, Elgin Area School District U-46 and Carpentersville-based Community Unit District 300 showed modest gains in composite scores.
District 300 had a composite score that rose four-tenths of a point from last year to 20.8. As well, the composite scores for math, science and English all went up, while the reading score stayed the same from 2010 at 20.8.
Officials credit the increases with ongoing professional development and deeper collaboration between faculty and high school division leaders.
"Years of diligence and strategic planning are paying off and our students are becoming better prepared for life and studies after high school," Ben Churchill, the district's assistant superintendent for high school teaching and learning, said in a statement.
U-46's composite score went up three-tenths of a point to 19.9. Larkin High School had the largest gains among the district with a composite score of 18.8, up six-tenths of a point from 2010. Streamwood High School's composite score rose to 19.2, up four-tenths.
"Through our five-year accountability plan ... we've made increasing student results on the ACT the capstone of the results we are seeking," U-46 Superintendent Jose Torres said in a statement. "These results show we are headed in the right direction."