The last couple of years Cody High School has emphasized preparing students for the next step, and by extension for the national ACT test.

That emphasis is paying off. While the statewide average ACT test scores for high school juniors is steady from the 2017-18 to 2018-19 class, Cody rose nearly a point.

The district’s 2018-19 juniors scored an average 20.4 on the key test, well above the results from the year before (19.7) and even further ahead of the state average of 19.5.

“Cody High School has made a consensus effort to focus on ACT scores,” superintendent Ray Schulte said. “Talking to parents, most want to know how their children fare on the ACT. It’s a big deal.”

The ACT test is given to every student in the state, but is often retaken by those who plan on attending college as it is a key factor in admissions, not to mention a big part of the Hathaway Scholarship.

The results released represent the scores from the standard spring testing of juniors. The numbers rise when retakes are taken into account.

The 2018 graduating class had a score of 21.8 and the 2019 class a 20.9. The state average for 2018 seniors was 20, while the state average for the 2019 class is not yet available.

Schulte said the improvement from the initial testing to the scores of the graduating class are due to the instruction provided by CHS teachers.

Juniors and seniors are able to take an ACT prep class first established last year.

The half-credit elective class was taught by three teachers. Every four weeks students rotated among the teachers.

The ACT consists of four multiple-choice timed tests and a timed essay. Students practiced answering questions while timed and saw a 2-3-point increase on average during the class.

About half the junior class took the elective prep class.

“They put a lot of effort in,” assistant superintendent Tim Foley said.

To achieve the highest level of the Hathaway, $1,680 per semester for up to eight full-time semesters, a minimum 25 ACT score is needed. Lower level awards require 21, 19 and 17 scores.

See Tuesday’s paper for Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress results.

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