Concordia Parish ACT scores see slight decrease

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, August 31, 2011

By Alex Allain

VIDALIA — Concordia Parish high schools saw a slight decrease in ACT scores in 2011.

“The scores of all three high schools (Vidalia, Ferriday, Monterey) have unfortunately dropped, but (the school board) has made moves to bounce back,” said Paul Nelson, director of academic programs for the parish school board.

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This year, the ACT average for the school district was 18.2, which can be compared to a score of 19.3 in 2010. Louisiana’s current state average for the ACT is 20.2, next to the national average of 21.1.

Nelson said that the school board regularly offers an ACT preparation course for parish high school students in the spring, and an additional class will be offered in the fall.

“These workshops are primarily funded by REAP, the Rural Education Achievement Program, a federal initiative intended to enhance educational services for smaller school districts. “We have done (the workshops) over the past couple of years, and they’ve been effective. They are strategy-based, focusing on test-taking.”

The School Board will be coordinating the workshops with the local high schools.

Moreover, Concordia Parish test-takers will have another study resource available for them this year. The school board will be offering Study Island ACT software, and these materials will be made available during school and can also be accessed online at home. On Study Island’s website, the software provider lists that the program offers “interactive lessons, personal feedback and full-length ACT exams.”

Nelson said he would like to encourage students to take advantage of these resources, so that they will be able to receive TOPS, Louisiana’s college assistance. The district reported 147 students have taken the ACT in 2011.

Nelson said these drawbacks sometime occur, but that the district is working to improve results. He said that the ACT average for the school district has been improving. The district had ACT averages of 18.3 in 2008 and 18.6 in 2009. Nelson said that the parents have been receptive to the school board’s efforts and that he looks forward to educating parents and students about these new resources.