In 2008 the state of Wyoming began requiring all high school juniors to take the ACT in order to help measure college-readiness. This year Sheridan High School had 25 percent of its students "college-ready", and meeting all four subject-area benchmark scores. That's compared to 18 percent of Wyoming students overall.
Sheridan High School principal Dirlene Wheeler says that she is pleased with these numbers, and commented on one area that they would still like to improve.
She explained that the current District 2 school board requirement is only three years of science, so some students don't take a fourth year of science when its required to take a fourth year of both math and English.
Meeting a certain subject area requires scoring an 18 or better in English Composition (ACT English), a 22 or better in Algebra (ACT Mathematics), or 21 or better in Social Science (ACT Reading), and 24 or better in Biology (ACT Science). Wheeler's goal is to improve in Science scoring where only 29 percent of SHS students met benchmarks last year, that's compared to a 24 percent state average.
Seventy percent of SHS students met the benchmark for English Comp., 52 percent met in Algebra compared to just 36 percent statewide, and 58 percent met marks in Social Science.
Five-year trends: More students taking ACT with improvements
The last year Wyoming did not require all students to take the test was 2007, when only 127 SHS students took the ACT. Average scores in 2007 were higher at 23.5, as those taking the test were the ones who chose to. For example, the test is required as a part of application to college.
For Sheridan, the average increased from 21.3 to 21.8 this year and was the highest since the state changed requirements where all students must test.
All juniors graduating in 2011-2012, or 233 SHS students, took the ACT this year the highest number of students in five years.
Wheeler said that she does see more students succeeding each year even with the higher numbers taking the test each year.
-Look for our Sheridan County District 1 ACT story today and tomorrow.