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CTA improves ACT scores

By Judy Reed

Creative Technologies Academy, a charter school located here in Cedar Springs, saw a big improvement in their high school ACT scores this year. In fact, they led all public high schools in the amount of points they added to their average score, with a gain of 1.9 points. Crossroads Charter Academy in Big Rapids followed with a 1.6 gain, and Lee High School added 1.3. All other public high schools added less than 1 point to their average, stayed the same, or lost points.

CTA, located at 350 Pine Street, in Cedar Springs, has 300 students enrolled K-12. Thirty-two students took the ACT, which is part of the Michigan Merit Exam. Their average score is now 18.5, up from 16.6 last year. “While I hate to stress numbers, that’s a pretty significant jump for a school our size,” said CTA Superintendent Dan George.

The Michigan Merit Examination is given each spring to Michigan 11th grade students. The test is administered to most students over a three-day period. The components of the MME are sequenced so that students take the ACT Plus Writing® college entrance exam on Day 1, three subtests of the WorkKeys® job skills assessment on Day 2, and additional items in mathematics, science, and social studies that complete the measurement of Michigan High School Content Expectations on Day 3.

On last year’s MME, only 10 out of 35 students at CTA met or exceeded proficiency guidelines (28 percent), and this year, that number jumped to 15 out of 32 (46 percent).

George said they implemented a plan to improve student achievement when he took over in January of 2010. Some of that included reviewing and implementing best teaching practices; working on the assessment of student learning by offering teacher professional development in that area, and testing students three times a year with Scantron’s performance series; using the online resource “Study island” to provide additional instruction for students; using ACT’s college and career readiness system; and using Quality Core, an end of course assessment for geometry and algebra.

“We have also made a few staff changes to increase instructional effectiveness and improve communication,” said George.

The state average score on the ACT is 19.3, which has risen the last four years from 18.7 in 2008.

The average score on the ACT for Cedar Springs High School stayed the same at 19.8. They had 134 out of 251 students test proficient on the MME this year (53 percent), and last year 126 out of 233 tested proficient (54 percent).

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