Though South-Western City School District's latest ACT scores are close to state averages, they fall below college readiness benchmark scores in math and science.

Though South-Western City School District's latest ACT scores are close to state averages, they fall below college readiness benchmark scores in math and science.

College readiness benchmarks are set at 22 and 24 for math and science; the district scored 21.4 in both areas. A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50-percent chance of obtaining a B or higher, or about a 75-percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding college courses. ACT test scores are on a scale of 1 to 36.

SWCS scores fell less than 1 percent in all four categories of English, math, reading and science dipped in comparison to last year's results.

"We're talking about small points of difference," said district assistant superintendent of curriculum John Kellogg.

ACT science results show 30 percent of district students are ready for college-level biology, compared to the state average of 35 percent. Math test results show that 47 percent of district students are ready for college-level algebra, compared to the state average of 49 percent. Only 23 percent of district students are ready for all four college level courses, which include English composition, algebra, social science and biology. The state average for all four courses is 28 percent.

Math and science scores on both the national and the local scale typically fall below the college readiness benchmark, Kellogg said.

"A clear focal point for us relates to science," he said, noting the Ohio Graduation Test and the Ohio Achievement Assessments results also show a need for improvement in science scores.

Science is one of the district's "sore spots" that needs work, he said.

Kellogg said a four-year math requirement from the state, in place for the current 10th grade class, should affect test results in both the ACT and the SAT, since more students will opt to take higher-end courses such as algebra II.

The district's curriculum is driven by state standards rather than the ACT, Kellogg said. Still, part of the state standards includes college readiness.

The number of test-takers has increased over the years.

In 2007, 673 students in the district took the ACT, compared to 715 in 2011. Kellogg said he's pleased with the increase and the fact that the district's scores are still near state averages.

Patrick Gallaway, media relations coordinator for the Ohio Department of Education, said it appeared that the state was up a point overall and ahead of the national average when it came to the composite score.

"While it is encouraging to know that Ohio students are scoring higher than the national average, we owe it to our students to always try to do better," Gallaway said.