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District scores improve on important ACT exam

MPS High school studentsMilwaukee Public Schools 2017 graduates recorded higher ACT test scores than their predecessors according to results released Thursday, September 7, 2017. Over the past five years, the district has seen scores climb in English, mathematics, reading and science.

The ACT is a nationwide test of proficiency in English, mathematics, reading, and science designed to measure the skills needed for success in first-year college coursework.

"Our efforts to provide more students with college-level coursework while they are still in high school, adding more rigor to the curriculum, and strengthening graduation requirements are paying dividends for our students," said MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver. "While our students do lag behind the rest of the state, our students showed growth in key areas while scores for the remainder of the state were flat."

HS student with teacherFive-year trends show continued progress for those who graduated in 2013 compared to 2017 graduates. For example, the composite reading score climbed from an average of 15.9 in 2013 to 16.7 in 2017. Average ACT scores in science improved from 16.4 to 17.2 over five years. The district's composite score increased from 15.8 to 16.5. The state composite score fell from 22.1 to 20.5 in the same time frame, but it must be noted that the number of students taking the ACT increased dramatically when ACT became the state accountability test.

The percentage of students who met college readiness benchmarks increased from year to year as well as over the five-year period in English, reading and science.

science classIn the important writing component of the ACT exam, average writing scores for white and Hispanic students were higher than the state average for those same ethnic groups. MPS students who are white earned an average score of 6.6 compared to 6.3 for white students across the state. MPS Hispanic students outpaced their statewide peers with scores of 5.9 compared to 5.7.  

Milwaukee Public Schools is engaged in several initiatives to rethink secondary schools and improve student outcomes. The number of MPS students taking college-level classes grew by nearly 40 percent in four years, with the district using telepresence to offer more Advanced Placement courses to more students in more schools. The district also increased the number of schools in the International Baccalaureate Programme, and more schools are participating in the rigorous AP Capstone Program.

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About Milwaukee Public Schools

Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to accelerating student achievement, building positive relationships between youth and adults and cultivating leadership at all levels. The district’s commitment to improvement continues to show results:

  • More MPS students are taking college-level Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses;
  • The MPS Class of 2017 earned $62+ million in scholarships; and
  • MPS is home to seven of the state and nation’s top high schools according to U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post.

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© Milwaukee Public Schools 2017
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