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ACT scores rise to the top

Generally speaking, standardized school test scores in River Falls are always good. They're often very good and sometimes great.

The latter would seem to apply to the just-released college-entrance exam results known as the ACT.

The graduating class of 2010 posted the highest composite scores on record going back 14 years and possibly longer.

This year's composite ACT score was 23.9, up from last year's 23.1, and much higher than a decade ago when the score was 22.1.

Overall, River Falls was also higher than every school in the area, including Hudson, which also has a history of high test scores, especially on the ACT.

"Our scores are as good or better than we've ever had," high school Principal Elaine Baumann said. "I would attribute this success to students taking advantage of more rigorous class offerings from the start of high school, taking more AP classes, and taking more math and science all through high school.

"Our teachers have really helped students prepare for the ACT. In addition to rigorous lessons, teachers include questions from ACT prep books or questions like those as part of routine classroom 'warm-up' activities."

Baumann said the class of 2010 had qualities other than brilliance that attributed to its sterling ACT results.

"(Was) this a particularly bright class? I would not categorize it as such," she said. "We had relatively few 'over the top' scores, such as several 34-and-above scores, a relatively small number of students who qualified for National Merit Scholarships, and not the largest number of high-honor students.

"I would really categorize this class as a group of students who very wisely and effectively maximized their opportunities to take rigorous classes and prepare themselves to do well after high school."

Below, shows how River Falls measured up against other area schools on the ACT and its various categories. Math, while still well above average, got the lowest score and ranking.

Composite: RIVER FALLS, 23.9; Hudson, 23.5; Rice Lake, 23.3; Chippewa Falls, 23.2; New Richmond, 22.8; Prescott, 22.4; Ellsworth, 22.3; Osceola, 22.2; Amery and STATE, 22.1; Somerset and Baldwin-Woodville, 22.0; Menomonie, 21.8; Spring Valley, 21.4; St. Croix Central, 21.2.

Science: RIVER FALLS and Chippewa Falls, 23.5; Rice Lake and Hudson, 23.2; Prescott, 22.9; New Richmond and Menomonie, 22.6; Ellsworth, 22.5; Osceola and Amery, 22.3; STATE, 22.2; Somerset, 22.1; Baldwin-Woodville, 21.8; St. Croix Central, 21.3; Spring Valley, 21.0.

Reading: RIVER FALLS, 24.7; Hudson, 23.8; Chippewa Falls, 23.5; New Richmond and Rice Lake, 23.4; Baldwin-Woodville, 23.0; Prescott, 22.7; Ellsworth, 22.6; Somerset and STATE, 22.3; Amery, 22.2; Menomonie and Osceola, 22.1; Spring Valley, 21.5; St. Croix Central, 21.2.

Math: Hudson, 23.8; Rice Lake, 23.5; Chippewa Falls, 23.1; RIVER FALLS, 22.8; New Richmond, 22.3; Amery, 22.2; STATE, 22.0; Osceola and Ellsworth, 21.8; Prescott, 21.5; Spring Valley, 21.4; Menomonie, 21.0; Somerset, 20.9; St. Croix Central, 20.8; Baldwin-Woodville, 20.6.

English: RIVER FALLS, 24.0; Hudson and Rice Lake, 22.8; New Richmond, 22.2; Baldwin-Woodville, 22.1; Chippewa Falls and Osceola, 22.0; Prescott, 21.9; Somerset, 21.8; Ellsworth, 21.7; STATE, 21.5; Menomonie, 21.3; Amery, 21.2; St. Croix Central, 21.1; Spring Valley, 21.0;

Among states where the ACT is the primary college-entrance exam taken by students, Wisconsin's 22.1 composite score ranked tied for third nationally with Nebraska and behind Minnesota (22.9) and Iowa (22.2).