High marks LHS students score well on college readiness test

By Larry Glaze September 17, 2009 02:28 pm

Scottish author Samuel Smiles once said, “We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he that never made a mistake never made a discovery.” So true!

Michael Jordan, recently inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame, was cut from his high school basketball team. Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity yet flunked his university entrance exam. We often become stronger through adversity.


So it is with the high-stakes testing environment of public education today. Public schools are held to high test standards under No Child Left Behind and failure to meet the standards results in a series of sanctions brought forth by the Oregon Department of Education.

Students are also under great pressure to perform well on college readiness tests such as the ACT and SAT exams to gain university admission. The students and teachers at La Grande High School have some test results to be proud of.

La Grande High School students scored well on the ACT college readiness test last spring. The ACT consists of curriculum-based tests of educational development in English, mathematics, reading and science designed to measure the skills needed for success in first year college coursework.

According to the ACT test results, 91 percent of LHS students taking the test are ready for college English composition, compared to the state average of 66 percent. That certainly speaks well for the LHS language arts department and all teachers

K-12 who have a role to play in developing writing skills.

An impressive 86 percent of LHS students tested ready for college social science compared to 56 percent for the state. This is a sign that the high school social studies teachers are doing an excellent job of preparing students for the rigor of college studies.

Additionally, 50 percent of LHS students were prepared for college algebra compared to 47 percent statewide and 45 percent of our students were prepared for college biology compared to 31 percent statewide.

ACT research has shown that it is rigor of coursework, rather than simply the number of core courses, that has the greatest impact on ACT performance and college readiness.

Boon Setser, LHS principal, is currently working with Les Balsiger, EOU director of high school initiatives, to establish a greater selection of dual credit classes for LHS students to choose from. This involves establishing curriculum that meets EOU standards for classes taught by approved LHS staff. Students who enroll in these classes then get both a credit from LHS toward graduation and credit from EOU.

We feel this is a win-win situation allowing a more challenging curriculum for college bound students who can gain college credits while still attending high school. Another hopeful outcome is that LHS students will go on to EOU to get their university degree.

We are always looking for ways to improve the education of La Grande school children. As always your opinions are welcome by contacting me at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Larry Glaze is superintendent of the

La Grande School District.