Steamboat students perform well on two college readiness exams |

Steamboat students perform well on two college readiness exams

Teresa Ristow
The Steamboat Springs School District's average Colorado ACT scores took a slight dip in 2014 before rebounding this year. Scores have remained above state averages for several years.

— Steamboat Springs High School staff learned last week that students this spring excelled in two forms of assessments known for predicting college readiness — the Colorado ACT and Advanced Placement exams.

Scores in ACT tests in English, math, reading and science were all up from 2014, when scores dipped only slightly. Overall, the district has maintained steady scores above state averages since 2008, the earliest results available on the Colorado Department of Education website.

“I was very excited about the results. It was good to see up making positive gains again,” Principal Kevin Taulman said. “We’ve focused on the ACT as a very important test for college readiness, and I think as a whole we are generally preparing students for that next level.”

The three-and-a-half hour ACT was given to all 11th graders in Steamboat in April or May to assess high school achievement, and the results are often used as an entrance exam to colleges.

Scores range from 1 to 36 and also include a composite score, which averages all the test results. Composite scores statewide have hovered between 20.1 and 20.3 for the last three years, while Steamboat’s composite scores were 22.2 in 2013, 21.3 last year and 22.3 this year.

Students also fared well on a variety of Advanced Placement exams taken in the spring. A district high of 144 students took a record 238 combined exams, up from 113 students taking 191 exams last year and 96 students taking 153 exams back in 2012.

AP exams assess student achievement after taking AP classes, which offer a higher level of coursework than typical high school classes in subjects including advanced science and math, foreign language, history, English and art.

Students who earn a score of three or higher on a five-point scale pass the exam and are eligible for college credit associated with AP classes, provided the college they attend accepts such credits.

Of the 144 students tested, 107, or 74.3 percent, received a three on at least one test.

This is down from 78.8 percent in 2014, but the portion of the student body tested, about 20 percent, is larger, Taulman said.

The rate of students with a three or better is 12 percentage points above the state average and nearly 14 percentage points above the national average, according to Marty Lamansky, district director of teaching and learning.

Lamansky collects and assesses test scores and reports out to staff and administration during the year.

“These scores are another indicator of the outstanding job that our teachers do in preparing our students, and the hard work our students put in to ensure their academic success,” Lamansky said.

The efforts of the school district to expand AP curriculum while also increasing scores led the district to being named to the College Board’s AP District Honor Roll last November.

Lamansky said both the ACT and AP scores were strong indicators of a high degree of college and career preparation for the students in the district.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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