Evanston Township High School students turned in their best performance ever on the ACT college entrance exam this year.

Results to be presented to the District 202 school board tonight show that ETHS students achieved a 23.5 composite score, the highest since the district started tracking the results in 1972.

The ACT exam is graded on a 36-point scale.

District officials say the results for ETHS continue to top the average performance at other schools in Illinois and across the nation.

They note that only in the past several years has Illinois required all students to take the ACT, a practice still not followed in many other states — where only college-bound students tend to take the exam, a practice that tends to inflate average scores in those states.

ETHS students gained four-tenths of a point on the exam last year, while the state improved by one-tenth of a percent and the nationwide performance stayed the same.

Scores for black students at ETHS rose 1.6 points over the last two years, to 19.2, while at the state and national level scores for black students were almost unchanged.

Scores for Hispanic students at ETHS were unchanged from two years ago, but up from last year. At the state level Hispanic student scores increased slightly over the past two years while nationally they remained unchanged.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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