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MCS continues trend of above-average ACT scores

Five years ago, Mitchell Christian School's college-exam testing was barely above the state average.

Since then, the school has proved its students are above average.

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Mitchell Christian -- a private, faith-based school that offers preschool through 12th grade -- earned a 23.8 on its ACT composite score for its 2013 graduates. That's 1.9 points higher than the state average of 21.9.

The ACT, which has a high score of 36, is a college-readiness exam for high-school students. The composite score is the average of test scores in English, math, reading and science segments.

"Last year, we had 10 seniors who took the test, and all 10 graduated and went on to postsecondary education," said Joseph Fox, MCS superintendent. "That's a goal we have every year."

In 2009, Mitchell Christian's composite score was 22.3, only a bit above the state average of 22.0. But the school was 2.7 points above the state average in 2010; 3.4 points above the state average in 2011; and 1.2 points above the state average last year.

"When we get new parents call us checking us out to possibly bring their children here, things like ACT test scores definitely come up," Fox said. "As I think about Christian education, some people think all we do is teach kids Bible classes. My goal as a Christian school administrator is to raise up smart people who care about and love Jesus."

This year, Mitchell Christian scored highest in the reading portion at 24.5, which is 2.4 points above the state average. MCS also tested at least 1.5 points above the state average in the other categories.

A state Department of Education news release noted that 80 percent of South Dakota's 2013 graduates took the ACT, earning a statewide average composite score of 21.9, which compares well against a national average of 20.9.