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Whitefish Bay students lead Wisconsin public schools on ACT test

Four of five North Shore districts score higher than state, national averages

Aug. 26, 2013

Whitefish Bay led the state on the 2012-13 ACT test, the standard Wisconsin college admissions benchmark, according to results released by testmaker ACT, Inc. and the state Department of Public Instruction on Wednesday.

Bay students averaged 26 out of a possible 36 on the ACT, earning the highest cumulative score among Wisconsin public and charter schools. The chart-topping score marks the 15th straight year Bay students have averaged a 25 or higher on the ACT.

"We do not know of any other public school district in the state that has matched this high, long-standing record," interim Superintendent Laura Myrah said in a news release. "Consistent ACT scores above 25 are just one reflection of the dedicated effort and commitment to education demonstrated by our students, their families and our fine staff."

Dominican High School and University School of Milwaukee, the North Shore’s two private high schools, scored an average of 25 and 28.6, respectively. According to USM Communications Director Tim Eilbes, this marks the fifth straight year USM students have averaged a 28 or higher on the ACT.

“Other data, including our AP exam scores and number of graduating seniors that are recognized as National Merit semifinalists each year also affirm our lofty national academic reputation,” Eilbes said in a statement.

Homestead students score well

Placing second among North Shore districts was Mequon-Thiensville (Homestead High School), whose students scored an average of 25, marking the seventh consecutive year district students have scored at or above a 25 on average. The district also boasted a record-high 92 percent participation rate.

"The release of the ACT scores is just one more indication that the great work that is taking place in the district is paying off," Superintedent Demond Means said in a news release. "In addition to our students, we are also grateful for staff, school leaders and of course parents and students for their efforts to continually raise expectations."

Shorewood and Nicolet were neck and neck at averages of 24.5 and 24.4, respectively. While Nicolet's average score fell by about a half percent since last year, an impressive five students posted perfect scores of 36 in the spring.

Brown Deer lags behind

Brown Deer students averaged a 20 on the ACT, slightly higher than last year yet still below the state average of 22.1 and national average of 20.9. In the coming school year, Superintendent Deb Kerr said, the district is expanding ACT preparatory tests in the eighth, ninth and 10th grades, as well as making ACT preparation classes mandatory instead of optional.

Kerr added that Brown Deer performs well compared to area districts with similar levels of student diversity.

"Continuing to increase ACT scores is an ongoing goal of our district," Kerr said. "One step at a time, but we're working on it."

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