MPS’ ACT scores mirror year-to-year state trend; bold reforms expected to yield results

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Public Schools posted an average ACT score in 2011-12 that was higher than in 2009-10 but, like the state’s result, was largely flat compared to the prior year.

MPS’ ACT participation continued to grow as the district continues its policy of school-day testing that began in 2009-10. In 2011-12 , MPS’ participation rate was 85%, dramatically higher than the state’s public-private average of 71% and the public-only average of 61%. MPS’ participation rate was 84% in 2010-11, 83% in 2009-10 and just 48% in 2008-09. Average scores were 15.9 in 2011-12 and 16 in 2010-11.

“We expect to see scores grow as we see greater impact from the bold reforms we’ve undertaken,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said. “We continue to implement rigorous college- and career-ready curricula through our Comprehensive Literacy and Comprehensive Math/Science plans. We’ve increased graduation requirements so that all of our students take the courses they need to succeed. We won a competitive GEAR UP grant that brings a total of $30 million in funding to better prepare low-income students who would be the first in their families to attend college. We opened two College Access Centers to demystify college, particularly for first-generation students, and provide readiness workshops. And now, we’re bringing the College Board’s SpringBoard pre-college program into five schools that serve middle-school age students.”

The five SpringBoard schools are: Audubon Technology and Communication Center, Bay View Middle/High School, Golda Meir School, Morse Marshall School for the Gifted and Talented and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning.

Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000 and growing math standardized test scores representing 10-point growth in the last six years.