Mehlville’s declining ACT scores worrying for this concerned reader


Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Since 2015 there has been a significant decline in the composite ACT (American College Test) score from Mehlville School District students.

The composite ACT is a test taken by high-school seniors and represents an average of English, math, reading and science test scores.

In 2015 the Mehlville composite ACT score was 23.0, 2016 was 20.9, 2017 is 20.9, and the 2018 score will be published in July 2019.

These are the lowest scores for Mehlville in the last 10 years.

When comparing and ranking 14 nearby area school districts, Mehlville ranks 11th out of 14 (bottom 33 percent) based on data published by the Missouri Comprehensive Data System July 2018 (

The following are the 14 area districts referenced and their respective 2017 composite ACT score: Ladue (25.9), Clayton (25.8), Rockwood R-VI (24.3), Kirkwood (24.0), Webster Groves (23.6), Parkway C-2 (23.5), Lindbergh (23.4), Maplewood Richmond Heights (22.5), Brentwood (22.2), Affton (21.0), Mehlville (20.9), Fox C-6 (20.7), Valley Park (20.6) and Bayless (18.7).

The Mehlville School District website shows a composite ACT goal of 21.1 for the 2018/2019 school year.

Has this low ACT score become the new normal for Mehlville?

Low academic performance translates into lower property values and poor preparation for life after high school whether it be college, a technical school, or the first job.

Lindbergh spends $9,679 per student and has a composite ACT of 23.4, and Mehlville with a composite ACT of 20.9 spends $9,409 per student.

This comparison suggests more money is not the automatic remedy for correcting low ACT scores.

I think Mehlville can compete academically with Lindbergh with a unified effort from students, parents, teachers and principals when coordinated by the district administration.

Would our athletic teams be content with consistently losing to Lindbergh? Ultimately, improving Mehlville ACT scores is the responsibility of Superintendent Chris Gaines and the school board.

There are many positive things going on within the Mehlville district.

However, there is considerable room for improvement in academics, which should be the highest priority within any school district.

How about a composite ACT score goal of 23.5 by the 2020/2021 school year?

Let’s review progress in July 2019 when the 2018 composite ACT scores are published by Missouri.

Mehlville can do better working together.

Terry Hildebrandt