The Colorado Department of Education on Friday released results from the ACT exam high school juniors took this spring.

Like so many years before, the results were flat. You can read a wrap-up of state trends here.

Here are some stories we found by digging deeper into the data, told in four graphs:

In Colorado’s largest districts, results didn’t budge much.

 

Data source: Colorado Department of Education.

Not one of Colorado’s 10 largest school districts were able to move the needle on ACT scores by a full point. Then again, they didn’t lose much ground either. Four of the state’s most populous districts fell below the state average of 20.1: Denver, Aurora, Adams 12, Colorado Springs’ District 11. Those district, compared to the other six that scored above the state average, serve more living in poverty.

Some of the state’s best and worst scores came from charter schools.

 

FRL = Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
Data source: Colorado Department of Education.

Independent third parties operate three of the five schools that earned the highest ACT scores in the state. Independent third parties also operate four of the five schools that earned the lowest ACT scores in the state. The district-run school that earned the highest score was Fairview in Boulder. D’Evelyn Junior-Senior High School in Jefferson County, which is co-managed by the district and a community-based steering committee, also ranked in the top 5. The district-run school that earned the lowest score was Lester R. Arnold High School in the Adams 14 school district.

In Denver, non-neighborhood schools lead while alternative schools lag.

 

FRL = Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
Data source: Colorado Department of Education.

Only one of the schools to place in the top five composite scores in Denver was a traditional neighborhood school: East High. The others were DSST charter schools, the selective-magnet school Denver School of the Arts and homeschool program Denver Online High. Meanwhile, all five schools with the lowest scores in Denver serve students who are in credit recovery programs or attempting to earn their GED.

At Colorado’s lowest performing high schools, ACT scores aren’t climbing.

 

FRL = Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
Data source: Colorado Department of Education.

ACT scores at five of the state’s chronically low-performing high schools didn’t see the kind of increases likely needed to stave off state sanctions. In fact, one school dropped a point — significant on a test like the ACT. High schools, like middle and elementary campuses, are rated on how well students do on the state’s standardized tests. However, student results on the ACT and graduation rates are also factored into a high school’s rating. If a school’s composite ACT score doesn’t climb, its state rating likely won’t either. If a school is dubbed as either “turnaround” or “priority improvement” by the state for more than five years in a row, the state may ask the school district running the school to close it or turn it over to a charter school.

Update: This post has been updated to include the role of a school-based steering committee that co-managed D’Evelyn Junior-Senior High School in Jefferson County.