Teachers, administrator and support staff at Corbin High School are celebrating an important testing milestone that officials say is not only a measure of how well the school prepares its students for college or careers, but could also have monetary benefits as well.
Corbin High School Principal John Crawford said having a cumulative ACT score of 21 or better among juniors at the school taking the important test has been a goal for several years.
Earlier this month, they got word that CHS had exceeded that goal. It had a score of 21.38 based on tests administered in March to 220 juniors at the school. The state average score on the test is 19.4.
“Twenty-one was just the magic number I set out there as a goal,” Crawford said. “I give all the credit to the teachers and everybody who really bought into that and worked to make it happen. And obviously, a great deal of credit has to go to the kids because they were the ones taking the test.”
“I was happy for our kids and proud of them. I am proud of our school.”
The ACT is the top test used in the U.S. to determine a student’s readiness for college. A higher average score on the test not only means that more CHS students are college-ready, but it has other benefits. Higher scores on the test also pave the way for more lucrative scholarships and grant money.
And Corbin Independent Schools Superintendent Dave Cox also points out that it saves college-bound students in other ways as well.
“There’s really a tremendous amount of money that’s at stake here,” Cox said. “We had a number of kids who met ACT benchmarks that determine whether or not they have to take transitional classes in college for reading or math. Those are classes students have to pay for, but they don’t get credit for them.”
Crawford said the school offered a series of nine preparatory sessions to help students focus on content areas of the ACT where they may need help. Two of the sessions were four-hour affairs held on Saturday. He said all of them were elective, but that the response was tremendous.
“It was so nice to have so many kids truly interested in taking those and thanking the teachers for helping them,” Crawford said. “Looking at the results, I think it worked out really well.”
Cox added that teachers at the school focused on trying questions for their own tests in a way that mimicked ACT style to help acclimate students to the test in a natural way. Also, he said tests in many courses were timed, just like the ACT.
“The ACT is not necessarily harder, but we had some students that were having trouble getting sections completed in the time given,” Cox said. “So we started timing our tests at the high school as well. I think it was just a combination of several things that really helped boost our overall score.”
Crawford, who is going into his third year as principal of CHS, noted that the school has been No. 1 in the state, out of 229 high schools, in the percentage of students it has college and career ready. Eighty-six percent of the school’s students graduate ready to attend college or pursue a career.
The school is ranked 11th overall in Kentucky based on state accountability measures.
“I’m thrilled our high school was able to do this,” Cox said. “They’ve worked so long and hard to reach this goal. It’s certainly very pleasing to see that hard work pay off.”