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River Falls ACT scores dip for 2013; district has high rate of participation

Academic test scores, even from high-performing school districts, vary from year to year.

High-performing River Falls High School is no exception. Its scores dipped this past year on the ACT college admissions exam.

While still well above the Wisconsin average, River Falls dropped in all core subjects from the year before, and its composite score trailed a few other area high schools.

Here’s the ACT breakdown and comparison of composite scores:

--1) Hudson, 24.0; 2) New Richmond, 23.4; 3) Spring Valley and Eau Claire area, 23.2; 5) River Falls, 22.9; 6) St. Croix Central, 22.8; 7) Chippewa Falls area, 22.6; 8) Prescott, 22.5; 9) Rice Lake and Ellsworth, 22.3; 11) Somerset, Menomonie and STATE, 22.1.

Among those students taking the ACTs, River Falls had the fourth highest participation rate in the area: 1) Spring Valley, 83.3%; 2) Hudson, 77.4%; Somerset, 73.9%; 4) River Falls 73%. The state average was 71%.

ACT participation ratios have climbed over the years across Wisconsin and in River Falls. Back in 1995, only 57% of RFHS students took the ACT test.

ACTs also reveal “college readiness benchmarks.”

Going by those, Academic Services Director Mike Johnson said that River Falls students, overall, were way above the college benchmark in English; quite above the benchmark in reading; slightly above in math; but slightly below the college readiness benchmark in science, which is mostly biology material.

Further breakdown of this college-ready statistic shows: In science, 48.9% of River Falls students taking the ACT met the college benchmark. In math, 62.4% did; in Reading, 73%; and in English, 86%.

(ACT Math and science have higher college benchmark standards than do English and Reading.)

By gender, RFHS male students, as they often do, scored higher than female students on the ACT. This year’s scores: Boys, 23.2/Girls, 22.7.

For more ACT coverage, please see the Aug. 29 print edition of the River Falls Journal.