Students from four Jefferson City area high schools generally performed better than the average 2018 Missouri classmate, according to ACT results recently released by the state's education department and local high schools.
Blair Oaks High School, Calvary Lutheran High School, Helias Catholic High School and Lighthouse Preparatory Academy scored higher than the state average. Jefferson City High School scored just below the state score.
Missouri students in the class of 2018 who took the ACT as juniors averaged scores of 19.5 in English, 19.7 in math, 20.5 in reading and 20 in science, and a composite score of 20 on the ACT as a whole, according to the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Thirty-three percent of the class met the math college readiness benchmark; 56 percent of the class met the English benchmark; 41 percent of graduates met the reading benchmark; 32 percent in science; and 23 percent of the class met all four ACT college readiness benchmarks.
A benchmark is a score that indicates a 50 percent chance of earning a B grade or higher in a corresponding college class, or a 75 percent chance of earning a C in the same class. Performance on the ACT English test measures the likelihood of a student's success in college English composition; math for college algebra; reading for college-level social science; and science for college biology.
Here's how local schools compared:
Blair Oaks R-2: Ninety-two students took the exam and earned a composite score of 22.3: in English, 21.6; 22.2 in math; 23.1 in reading; and 21.9 in science.
Thirty-five percent of students who took the ACT met all four college readiness benchmarks: 72 percent in English; 58 percent in math; 51 percent in reading; and 50 percent in science.
Calvary Lutheran High School: The report from the ACT noted 24 students took the exam and earned a composite score of 21: in English, 22; 19.8 in math; 21.8 in reading; and 19.8 in science.
Of the 24 Calvary Lutheran students tested for the class of 2018, 29 percent met all four college readiness benchmarks: 67 percent in English; 33 percent in math; 46 percent in reading and 29 percent in science.
Helias Catholic High School: Helias' graduating class of 2018 averaged a composite score of 23.7: 24.8 in English; and 23.7 in reading.
Math and science scores were not immediately available, and neither was the percent of Helias ACT takers who met college readiness benchmarks.
Jefferson City Public Schools: 531 students took the ACT and earned a composite score of 19.5: 18.8 in English; 19 in math; 20.2 in reading; and 19.5 in science.
Seventeen percent of students who took the ACT met all four college and career readiness benchmarks: 50 percent in English; 26 percent in math; 40 percent in reading; and 29 percent in science.
Lighthouse Preparatory Academy: Fifteen students took the exam and earned a composite score of 22.7: in English, 24.5; 20.4 in math; 24 in reading; and 21.7 in science.
Thirty-three percent of students who took the ACT met all four college readiness benchmarks: 80 percent in English; 47 percent in math; 53 percent in reading; and 53 percent in science.
More than 68,000 members of Missouri's 2018 graduating clas took the ACT as juniors — compared to 55 percent of the class of 2018 nationally and the composite score of 20.8 they earned, on average.
Missouri students' composite scores are less than the 20.4 reported last year. The highest average composite score in the five years before that had been 21.8 in the 2013-14 school year.
Nationally last year, students averaged an ACT composite score of 21.
Across the state, students who took more advanced coursework in math and English scored "markedly higher average scores than those who did not," according to DESE.
Sixty-five percent of students who took four years of English met the college readiness benchmark, compared with 35 percent of students who took less than four years of English.
Three or more years of math classes benefited the 41 percent of students enrolled in that amount of math who also met the subject's college readiness benchmark, compared with 4 percent of students who took less than three years of math.
Forty-seven percent of students who took three or more years of social studies met the reading college readiness benchmark on the ACT, compared with 31 percent of students who took less than three years of social studies.
Missouri was among 17 states that had 100 percent of the graduating 2018 class take the ACT, according to DESE, adding the state's composite score of 20 was the sixth highest among the 17 states and tied with Montana and Wyoming.
The class of 2018's results are from the final state-paid census testing — DESE in the 2017-18 school year stopped funding juniors to take the test because of state education budget cuts, after funding the tests for juniors since 2015.
The Jefferson City Public Schools and Blair Oaks R-2 districts then approved funding of their own to continue to support juniors to take the ACT.
"It is important to note that nearly half of the Missouri class of 2018 took the ACT more than once. ACT reports the most recent score rather than the highest score," according to DESE, which uses a student's highest score to calculate public schools' college and career readiness accountability measures.
"More than 34,000 graduates in 2018 took the ACT two or more times for an average composite score of 22.6, compared to an average of 17.6 for graduates who took the test only once," DESE added.