The ACT Aspire assessments are given in the 3rd through 8th grade (in 2016, they will extend through the 10th grade). The tests are aligned with the same ACT test that high school juniors and seniors take to qualify for college admission. In 2015, students were tested in the areas of English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. Students scores fall into the category of Ready (the student is on track to meet college readiness benchmarks on the ACT), Close (the student is below but near the readiness benchmark), and Needs Intervention (the student is below the readiness benchmark). If you want to know more about the student score reports, follow this link.
The English test focuses primarily on the development of language skills. The college readiness benchmark for this test is based on typical performance in a first-year college English composition course. Based on the spring 2015 results, 82% of our students are Ready in this area (a 2% increase from 2014). The National Percentile Rank (NPR) for all students in this area was 63.3 (this means our students scored as well as 63.3% of the national population who took this test).
The Mathematics test focuses on the ability to solve problems, justify mathematical explanations for why things work the way they do, and use mathematical drawings and expressions as models for understanding problems. The college readiness benchmark for this test is based on typical performance in a first-year college mathematics course, and because mathematics is challenging for the typical college freshman, this is a more difficult benchmark for students to reach. Based on the spring 2015 results, 65% of our students are Ready in this area (a 5% increase from 2014). The NPR for all students in this area was 68.3.
The Reading test focuses on the understanding increasingly challenging text and integrating knowledge and ideas from different sources. The college readiness benchmark for this test is based on typical performance in a first-year college history course. Based on the spring 2015 results, 58% of our students are Ready in this area (a 3% increase from 2015). The NPR for all students in this area was 65.3.
The Science test focuses on the use of science practices using investigations of real-world scenarios. The college readiness benchmark for this test is based on typical performance in a first-year college biology course, and like mathematics, this is a difficult benchmark to reach because college biology is a course in which a lot of college freshmen will struggle. This was the first year that we assessed grades 3 through 8 using the Aspire Science test. Based on the spring 2015 results, 55% of our students are Ready in this area. The NPR for all students in this area was 65.3.
Because 2015 was the second year that we have administered the ACT Aspire, we received a new score category this year for those students who took Aspire tests in both 2014 and 2015. This new score category is a Growth Percentile, and it represents the degree to which each student increased his or her score from one year to the next in comparison with the national population. A Growth Percentile higher than 50 means that a student made greater gains than at least half of the national population, and our combined scores for all tests except Science exceeded that measure. Growth Percentile was not reported for Science this year because 2015 was the first year for our students. Growth Percentile scores for the other tested areas were:
- English- 55.0
- Mathematics- 54.9
- Reading- 53.2
I am very proud of our students and teachers for the great improvements evident in this year's scores. We must always be careful about reading too much, for good or bad, into a single measurement of any kind. What the data says is not as important as how we respond to the data as educators. When we see evidence that students are growing and improving, it helps us to know that we are doing the right things. I am excited for the future of this school system and the children it serves!
Ron Dodson, PhD
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction
Hoover City Schools