The 2016 ACT scores for Milbank students was released by the Milbank School District Board of Education during its regular meeting September 12. According to the data, a Milbank student’s average composite ACT score is slightly above the state and national average. Milbank’s score for the Class of 2016 is 22.1 and the state average is 21.9. The national average is 20.8.
“Overall, our kids are doing well in all the testing they face each year,” stated MHS principal Dan Snaza. “Our Smarter Balance scores and ACT scores seem to go up and down together, but it’s hard to pinpoint areas of weaknesses from those tests. The Smarter Balance test meets our core standards, but the ACT test does not. With the new NWEA testing this year, we hope it will better help pinpoint the weak areas, so we can make improvements.”
The 2015 class score for Milbank was 22.3; 2014 was 22.2. Other scores for the past five years include 2013 (23.9) and 2012 (21.6).
Just 43 MHS students took the ACT test in 2016, which is a surprisingly low number according to Snaza. About 76 percent of 2016 South Dakota graduates took the ACT. The number of students in all minority groups who took the test stayed the same or increased from last year. South Dakota students are not required to take the ACT.
“By taking the ACT, students take a step in planning their future,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp. “After graduation, students may go on to a technical institute, university, or directly into the workforce. Success in today’s world demands that whatever their path, students must be ready. The best way for them to prepare is by continuing to challenge themselves academically all the way through high school.”
The data shows students who take rigorous courses, such as trigonometry, calculus, chemistry, physics, and four years of English in high school are more likely to meet ACT’s benchmark scores. A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding college course.
ACT has long been an important indicator when considering a student’s readiness to take college level courses. South Dakota’s public universities also look at performance on the state assessment at grade 11 as another indicator of a student’s readiness.