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Council Bluffs Schools Class of 2020 hit nine-year high on ACT scores
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Council Bluffs Schools Class of 2020 hit nine-year high on ACT scores

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Council Bluffs Community Schools’ Class of 2020 racked up the district’s nine-year high on ACT college entrance exam scores, a school official said Tuesday.

The 2020 graduates who took the test earned an average composite score of 20.9 out of 36, Chief Academic Officer Corey Vorthmann said in a presentation to the board of education.

“That’s a nine-year high in our school district,” he said. “Certainly, that’s worthy of celebration.”

Class members also achieved nine-year highs on all of the four subtests, averaging 19.6 on the math subtest, 20.6 on English, 22.7 on reading and 21.6 on science, Vorthmann’s chart showed.

ACT has not yet released an annual report showing how the students’ scores compared with state and national averages, he said.

About 38% of 2020 graduates took the ACT test, up slightly from the 35% of the Class of 2019 who participated. The percentage of students who take the exam has generally decreased over the past six years after a high of 52% in 2014, Vorthmann said.

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“The number taking the ACT mirrors the percentage going to a four-year college,” he said.

While that number has declined, the number of students attending junior college or trade school has increased, he said.

Students of different races make up roughly the same percentage of exam participants as they do of the total student population, Vorthmann said. Whites, African Americans and Asians are slightly overrepresented, and Hispanics and American Indian/Alaska natives are somewhat underrepresented.

Fewer and fewer colleges are requiring ACT scores for admission, Vorthmann said.

“More than 60% of colleges don’t require ACT anymore,” he said. “Some universities have said they won’t even accept it anymore.

“ACT certainly is one of the indicators we use to gauge if our kids are future ready,” Vorthmann said.

While this trend started before the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, the pandemic has accelerated it by forcing the cancellation or postponement of many testing sessions, which prompted more colleges to drop the requirement.

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