Trimble County Schools saw increases in students’ ACT scores across the board this year, according to data presented at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.

High School students scored an overall composite of 18.96 for the 2019-2020 academic year, slightly below the state average of 19.8 but an improvement over the past few years. The real improvements, however, were in the percentage of students meeting certain benchmarks.

Scores in English and Reading were the school’s highest in six years, with 55.1% of students meeting the benchmark on English and 52.2% meeting the benchmark on Reading. The Reading scores were a considerable jump from the previous five years, when scores ranged from about 40% to 49% of students meeting the benchmark. English scores were more in line with those of a few years ago as they improved from 38.4% to 55.1%.

Math scores were also the highest since the 2015-2016 year, jumping 3% compared to the 2018-2019 year.

Chief Academic Officer Kathy House credited much of the jump in scores to recent changes in test preparation and curriculum, including the implementation of Torch Prep, a standardized test prep program based in Newport, Kentucky.

“It’s a nice indicator that these things are working,” House said.

House said the district has put emphasis on reading and writing curriculum the past three years and looked more closely at individualized data as a measure of progress. The scores will be Trimble County’s only indication of how students performed test-wise this year, since K-Prep and spring MAP testing were waived by the state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students took the test together March 10, three days before Trimble closed due to social distancing regulations. Testing dates have been set in September and October for those who missed the assessment, House said.

Compared to state averages in ACT data, Trimble County beat the state average of students meeting the benchmark in Reading (40%) and Math (29%) while testing slightly behind the English average (56%).

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Jessica Wilcoxson gave an update on the district’s plans for graduation and annual scholarship night. A virtual graduation in which students will be filmed walking across the stage in different time windows is set for May 15, while a virtual scholarship night will take place May 20.

Wilcoxson also said the district will continue to feed students and deliver free meals through May 22, at which time United Methodist Charities will take over providing meals for the summer.

The Trimble County Board of Education will meet again May 26 at 6 p.m.