Geneva ACT Scores Go Up, Bucking State, National Trend

Credit: Geneva School District 304
Credit: Geneva School District 304

While ACT scores for the state of Illinois slid significantly, scores actually went up year-over-year in Geneva.

Geneva High School’s graduating class of 2013 achieved an average ACT composite score of 24.6, according to numbers released Wednesday by ACT. The average composite ACT score for 2013 graduates statewide is 20.6. The nationwide composite score is 20.9.

“We are very proud of our students for all their hard work and achieving these high scores,” said Superintendent Dr. Kent Mutchler. “We are also very thankful to our staff, parents, and community for the value they place on education in Geneva and for their continuous support of our students to help each and every one succeed.” 

District 304 has seen an impressive 2.3-point increase in composite score in the last decade — from 22.3 in 2004 to 24.6 in 2013.

This is in spite of drops overall nationwide. InsideHigherEd.com says the 2013 ACT scores are the lowest they’ve been in five years, with the biggest drops occurring in the English and reading sections.

The ACT is a college-readiness exam given to every Illinois high school student as part of the Prairie State Achievement Exam, regardless of post-high school plans. The ACT test is graded on a 36-point scale.

One of the reasons for the statewide drop is that Illinois is among nine states nationwide that test all students. Illinois was second among those nine states.

Students with learning disabilities, for example, are allowed to take more time than other students, but their scores are reported among the totals. The average score for a student taking extra time is 16, the Chicago Tribune reports.

SOURCES: School District 304, the Chicago Tribune, InsideHigherEd.com

Martha Hanna August 22, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Hmmm, I guess you get what you pay for in Geneva IL...thank you teachers!!!
Sue J August 22, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Yes, what I paid for was an ACT prep class. My child scored 23 before the class and 27 after the class. So I guess the teachers didn't help much in my case.
Martha Hanna August 23, 2013 at 08:49 AM
all the years leading up to your child's prep class count!
Rudy August 23, 2013 at 10:19 AM
My kid scored a 27 on there junior pre ACT test Thanks to deep pocket republicans supporting our government teachers. I Thank the teachers who can do their jobs well because of excellent community support almost completely Republican! You don't see these results in Dumbocrat communities just teen pregnancies, brutality, drugs and government hand outs! Thanks to our Teachers and their Huge financial supporters no want goes unfulfilled. Rudy
Sue J August 23, 2013 at 01:50 PM
No Martha all the years leading up got my child a 23. The prep class got her 4 extra points.
Pat Fitz August 23, 2013 at 02:01 PM
My son scored over the Geneva Avg. Thanks Geneva Teachers! From K-12
Martha Hanna August 23, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Sue you are being unrealistic.
Sue J August 23, 2013 at 04:58 PM
No Martha you are ignoring the facts. She scored 23 with what she learned from the teachers and 27 after she took the class that was paid by me. Maybe sometime someone will recognize that parents contribute to the above average scores.
Martha Hanna August 23, 2013 at 06:16 PM
I am not ignoring the facts, so what you paid for extra help. God bless you for being a caring parent that goes that extra mile to benefit her child. BUT a lot of the pre-test goes over things the kids have already learned...it is like a refresher class of the last 11 years of knowledge. Yes are are things on the test that may be new to some students. And yes it sucks that you have to pay for it, but you did, and you got good results.
Ellie Smith August 23, 2013 at 09:36 PM
You get what you pay for? You may pay high taxes because you don't want businesses in Geneva, but teachers in Geneva make far lower salaries than those in MANY other nearby suburbs. Maybe if teaching is so easy and such a great gig, you should do it, Sue.
Lou B. August 24, 2013 at 02:22 AM
I've never seen a good case for a correlation between ACT scores and teacher pay, as the only variable. Take our teachers and stick them in the CPS system, and they woudn't touch the composite scores that we see here. Geneva is a Camelot district, reasonably well funded, but it's the parents, and a multitude of variables, (low crime, stable homes, parental IQ, college expectations, etc, etc.) all working together, that correlate to these outcomes. Still, I don't think there is any denying that our educational institutions are cooperating in delivering well educated, well rounded students for the most part.
Sue J August 24, 2013 at 08:12 AM
Well said Lou. Too many people think it is just the teachers. You are correct all these variables go into it. As a parent I did everything I could to help my child raise her score. Ellie, if the teachers have it so bad why don't they go in teach in other higher paid districts. I don't see too much turnover here and I have lived here for 20 years. I have seen the teachers' salaries. They are fairly compensated. When you evaluate compensation there are many factors - working conditions, pay, benefits, retirement plan, etc.
Martha Hanna August 24, 2013 at 08:54 AM
Teachers pay into retirement and their health care. Geneva teachers are on the low end of the scale, compared to Dupage and Lake county...and YES PARENTS ARE A BIG PART OF THE EDUCATION PROCESS and so are teachers...starting with pre-school.
Sue J August 24, 2013 at 09:09 AM
Martha, you are not in the real world. Teachers pay a small percentage of their pay (under 10%) to get a large percentage of their ending salary when retired. No private employees get that. They also get very good health insurance for a reasonable cost. These are all factors of compensation. You can't just look at salary. They are compensated well. If no, then why aren't Geneva teachers going to DuPage and Lake counties? I know because they have it good in Geneva.
Martha Hanna August 24, 2013 at 09:17 AM
Yes I am not in the real world.
Julie August 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Ug, here we go again debating a topic that will NEVER compromise. I used to care and try to voice my concerns, but there really isn't a point, plus it's exhausting to bicker back and forth w/those that teach. I think it would be great to see just how many parents send their kids to OUTSIDE facilities in order to improve their ACT scores. I am willing to bet the number is quite high and I also think that is a huge reason why Geneva's scores are what they are. Rick Nagel...how about a poll? But, even with a poll, we aren't reaching everyone in Geneva.
Julie August 24, 2013 at 10:20 AM
Geneva 304 has some outstanding teachers, but they also have average and below average teachers, too. From personal experience, my OPINION is that 80% are average and 10% are below average.
Pat Fitz August 24, 2013 at 01:17 PM
My son a senior at Geneva got no outside help. He took the test once and scored over the Geneva 25 avg. Hats off to Geneva teachers. Nothing wrong with getting extra help or taking the test more then once. My senior at EIU took it over after his junior year and payed for an online study quide.
Julie August 24, 2013 at 02:28 PM
That's great, Pat! (I really mean that, too! :) ) Some kids are smarter than others and then there are some who are just NOT good test-takers...I am one of those. Personally, I think too much emphasis is placed on these test scores to begin with. Nerves/Anxiety issues can unfortunately make a difference with the scores and that's a whole different monster. I also wish it weren't so darn expensive to get the extra help to increase the score. Maybe they are already doing this at GHS, but I think it would be great if they offered some type of ACT/Testing Skills class on the Thursday morning gig they implemented this year. Enjoy the beautiful weekend!
Pat Fitz August 24, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Julie, agree 100%. I always scored low on tests. My oldest took the test again this summer to bring his score up. He also is not a good test taker. His problem was finishing in the time limit. Studying education at EIU he wanted to bring up his score. The study guide and the cost to retake the test was worth the $$ but like you said it is expensive to get the extra help. Enjoy your weekend!
Steve Hunter August 24, 2013 at 03:01 PM
This is great news. Congratulations to the students of Geneva on your amazing accomplishment! Our community invests substantial resources, time and money into our education system. Your parents, teachers, administrators and taxpayers have worked to provide you with the best opportunity they could; but alas, all their best efforts can only provide opportunity. It is up to each student to invest their own blood, sweat, and I’m sure more than a few tears, to take advantage of the opportunity presented and to be successful. Thank you for all your hard work and for taking your education as seriously as we do. It is a great feeling to know that everybody’s efforts have yielded such great results. Take a moment and enjoy the accolades. You have earned them. We are all very proud of your performance and wish you continued success in future endeavors.
Mike August 25, 2013 at 01:11 PM
^ Great point Steve. Everyone is trying to pat themselves on the back for the good test results. At the end of the day it's because the individual kids put in the work.


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