The following press release was submitted by Evanston Township High School:
Evanston Township High School (ETHS) reported a number of record-setting achievement scores across various college and career readiness assessments at the October 21 District 202 Board of Education meeting. The report included historically high scores in the ACT PLAN test, the ACT college entrance exam, and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
ETHS’s Class of 2013 set a record for the highest ACT composite score in the school's history with an average composite score of 23.9. Black, Latina/o, and White students outscored their state and national counterparts on the ACT composite score.
Last year, ACT, the non-profit organization that administers the ACT series of college and career readiness assessments (EXPLORE, PLAN, ACT), announced that it was revising the way it calculates the results of its ACT exam. Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, every school’s ACT average composite score now consists of the scores of all students, including students who receive ACT-approved testing accommodations. The change resulted in state results dropping to a 10-year low and national composite scores in 2013 dropping to an 8-year low. ETHS did not experience a decline in its composite score when including all students. The Class of 2013 composite score for all students is 23.2, which is higher than composite scores attained by ETHS’s class of 2012 (23.0) and class of 2011 (23.0), whose average did not include students with accommodations.
“We are raising expectations, and we have taken a multifaceted approach to creating a school-wide culture of academic achievement for all students at ETHS,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “We are seeing significant results, and our students, their teachers, our administrators and staff deserve so much credit for making these big strides.”
Illinois is one of only nine states requiring students to take the ACT college entrance exam, including students who would not be taking the exam in other states because they do not intend to apply to a competitive college or university. Even with all seniors at ETHS now taking the ACT exam, ETHS results are higher than the national average, and since 2002 when the state began requiring students to be tested on ACT, ETHS’s composite has steadily risen.
ETHS’s class of 2015, who took the ACT PLAN test during their sophomore year (2012-13), achieved the highest PLAN composite score in the school’s history with an average composite score of 20.6, up from 20.0 in 2011-12. The PLAN test serves as a midpoint check of academic progress in high school and shares similar content with the ACT exam. According to the ACT, the PLAN is designed to help improve students' preparation for education, training, and work after high school.
The average PLAN composite scores for Black, Latina/o and White students at ETHS were also at the highest in the school’s history. In particular, Black male students achieved a 10% overall increase in PLAN composite scores from 2011-12 (15.7) to 2012-13 (17.3). Latina female students achieved a 6.5% increase, scoring an increased composite up from 16.8 in 2011‐12 to 17.9 in 2012‐13.
According to Assistant Superintendent/Principal Marcus Campbell, “It is important that our students are taking highly challenging classes and we are providing our teachers with the support they need to increase learning and achievement for all students in their classes.”
This year’s Advanced Placement exam results also represented historically high scores for ETHS students. In 2012-13, 60% of juniors and seniors took at least one AP exam, and of these, 1,293 exams were scores of “3” or higher and 843 exams were scores of “4” or higher, scores which can result in college credit being awarded. This reflects the highest number of exams with scores of “3,” “4,” or “5” in ETHS’s history. AP examinations are graded on a scale from “1” to “5” with “5” being the highest.
The high school offers students 27 Advanced Placement (AP) courses in six different academic areas. According to the College Board, the non-profit organization that administers the Advanced Placement program, each AP course can help students prepare for a wide variety of college majors and careers. Students who pass an AP course and score successfully on the related AP exam may also be eligible for college credit.
“As we have increased enrollment in Advanced Placement courses, we have seen historic success in these courses as measured by the number of students earning 3s and higher,” said Assistant Superintendent Pete Bavis. “This is a result of increasing students’ capacity to use effective strategies in their learning as well as our capacity to support students in these classes.”