Annual test scores as well as the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price school lunches are trending upward, Van Buren Assistant Superintendent Harry Tommey told the school board Tuesday in the district’s annual report to the public.

School district enrollment, based on the Oct. 1 enrollment count, has remained right under 6,000 students for the past six to seven years, Tommey said.

According to district records, enrollment for the 2013-14 school year is 5,943, down 57 students from the 6,000 district officials counted for the 2012-13 school year. This year’s number does not include the district’s 83 preschool students.

Tommey said the district’s percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals rose to 63 percent, and that percentage continues to rise.

Superintendent Merle Dickerson said about 230 fewer students, or 58 percent, were eligible for the free and reduced-price meals last year.

Tommey said literacy and math test scores are up both for the state and the district.

The Iowa Reading and Math tests for first- through ninth-graders are norm-reference tests, and the district scores are fairly high. The nationwide average is 50 percent, and Van Buren met or beat that in math for 2013 in all but the third and ninth grades, according to Tommey’s presentation.

Van Buren fourth-graders scored at 62 percent, compared to the statewide average of 60 percent, and sixth-graders scored at about 59 percent, compared to the statewide 54 percent average, according to the graph.

In the 2013 reading test, Van Buren first-, second-, fourth-, eighth- and ninth-graders scored at or above the national 50 percent average. The other grades dipped slightly below it, as did statewide scores for fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and ninth-graders.

Tommey said 2013 ACT scores showed Van Buren graduates scoring higher than students statewide and nationally.

According to the ACT organization’s report, 90 percent of Arkansas graduates tested in 2013, and Arkansas’ average composite score was 20.2 points out of 30 points. The average English and math scores were 19.9, average reading score was 20.5, and the average science score was 20.7.

National ACT averages, with 54 percent of graduates tested, were: Composite 20.9; English 20.2; math 20.9; reading 21.1 and science 20.7.

“We are at or above the national score in every case. That wasn’t the case about six years ago. We’ve made a lot of progress and are really proud of our kids,” Tommey said.