Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ACT Participation Jumps, Scores Remain Steady

Black, Hispanic and White Students Outscore Peers Nationally

Georgia’s ACT scores remained steady in 2009 even as participation on the college entrance exam jumped by nearly nine percent in one year.

About 40 percent of Georgia’s 2009 graduating seniors took the ACT and had an average composite score of 20.6, the same as last year. The national average composite score was 21.1, also the same as 2008, according to ACT's annual report. Georgia seniors were tied for 40th on the ACT, up from 41st in 2008 and 47th in 2005.

“Even with a dramatic increase in participation, Georgia’s ACT scores held onto the gains we’ve made the past few years and our national rank improved,” said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox.

Superintendent Cox pointed out that when the scores are broken down by race, Georgia students are actually outscoring the nation across the board. According to the 2009 ACT report:

- Georgia’s African American students had an average composite score of 17.4, higher than the national average of 16.9.

- Georgia’s Hispanic students had an average composite score of 20.0, higher than the national average of 18.7
- Georgia’s Caucasian students had an average composite score of 22.6, higher than the national average of 22.2

“When you get behind the numbers, you can see that Georgia students are actually outperforming their peers from across the nation,” Superintendent Cox said. “However, Georgia must remain focused and determined to provide all students with a high quality education so that we can close the achievement gap and prepare our students for the 21st century.”

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test designed to measure college readiness and preparation. The ACT includes four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science. There is also an optional writing portion. The exam is scored on a scale from 0 to 36.

Readiness and Rigor

The report provides strong evidence that Georgia is making the right moves in education by setting higher standards and raising expectations.

According to the ACT, 19 percent of Georgia seniors demonstrated college-readiness in all four areas of the test, the same as last year. Nationally, about 23 percent of ACT test-takers demonstrated college-readiness, also unchanged from 2008.

The ACT has identified six specific steps that states can take to better prepare their students for college and careers. Those recommendations include adopting a rigorous core curriculum for all students, establishing a longitudinal data system and defining college-and-career readiness.

"The good news is that Georgia is already doing everything the ACT recommends and much more," said Superintendent Cox. "I know we are on the right path for education in Georgia and we are already seeing the results. But I am confident that in the not-too-distant future, Georgia will see even greater gains in student achievement."

Growing Numbers

The number of seniors taking the ACT has increased to over 36,000 -- up more than 50 percent since 2005. The number of African-American students taking the ACT has nearly doubled in that time with 11,759 of last year's seniors having taken the exam.

"More Georgia students take the SAT, but the numbers are getting closer," said Superintendent Cox. Additionally, she said, fewer students are taking the SAT a second or third time. Last year, about 55 percent of Georgia students took the SAT more than once, down eight points since 2005. Superintendent Cox said it appears that instead of taking the SAT a second time, some students are taking the ACT.

"We must make sure our students are ready for whatever exam they choose to take," Superintendent Cox said. “We know that our teachers, students and school communities are working harder than ever to make that happen.”

SAT scores will be released August 25 by the College Board.

MORE INFORMATION

- Georgia's ACT Report: http://www.act.org/news/data/09/pdf/states/Georgia.pdf
- National ACT Report: http://www.act.org/news/data/09/pdf/National2009.pdf

SCHOOL and DISTRICT SCORES

- To download school and district scores, see this press release online at: http://tinyurl.com/GaACT2009

TOP PERFORMERS:

NOTE: The score for schools and district with 10 or fewer test-takers are not included.

TOP ACT HIGH SCHOOLS (average composite score)

District High School Score
FULTON CO CHATTAHOOCHEE HIGH SCHOOL 25.2
COBB CO GEORGE WALTON COMP HIGH SCHOOL 25.1
FULTON CO RIVERWOOD HIGH SCHOOL 25
FULTON CO MILTON HIGH SCHOOL 24.6
FULTON CO NORTHVIEW HIGH SCHOOL 24.6
CHATHAM CO SAVANNAH ARTS ACADEMY 24.5
COBB CO ALAN C POPE HIGH SCHOOL 24.3
FORSYTH CO SOUTH FORSYTH HIGH SCHOOL 24.1
COBB CO LASSITER HIGH SCHOOL 24
FAYETTE CO STARRS MILL HIGH SCHOOL 24
GWINNETT CO PARKVIEW HIGH SCHOOL 24
FULTON CO ALPHARETTA HIGH SCHOOL 23.9
GWINNETT CO NORTH GWINNETT HIGH SCHOOL 23.9
COBB CO WHEELER HIGH SCHOOL 23.8
FAYETTE CO MCINTOSH HIGH SCHOOL 23.7
FULTON CO ROSWELL HIGH SCHOOL 23.7
MUSCOGEE CO COLUMBUS HIGH SCHOOL 23.7
COLUMBIA CO LAKESIDE HIGH SCHOOL 23.6
GWINNETT CO BROOKWOOD HIGH SCHOOL 23.6
FULTON CO CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL 23.4
DEKALB CO CHAMBLEE HIGH SCHOOL 23.3
RICHMOND CO JOHN S DAVIDSON FINE ARTS SCH 23.3
GWINNETT CO NORCROSS HIGH SCHOOL 23.1
COBB CO HARRISON HIGH SCHOOL 23
COBB CO KENNESAW MOUNTAIN HIGH SCHOOL 23
GWINNETT CO COLLINS HILL HIGH SCHOOL 23

MOST IMPROVED ACT SCHOOLS (one-year change, average composite score)

District High School Score Increase

HENRY CO WOODLAND HIGH SCHOOL 19.8 4.8
JASPER CO JASPER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL 20.8 4.6
HALL CO ROBERT W JOHNSON HIGH 20.5 4
RICHMOND CO WESTSIDE HIGH SCHOOL 21.3 3.1
ECHOLS CO ECHOLS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL 19.8 3
BLECKLEY CO BLECKLEY CO. HIGH SCHOOL 21.1 2.9
LAURENS CO WEST LAURENS HIGH SCHOOL 20.9 2.4
MUSCOGEE CO HARDAWAY HIGH SCHOOL 19.1 2.2
CLARKE CO CLARKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL 20.2 2.1
GORDON CO GORDON CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL 19 2.1
JACKSON CO EAST JACKSON COMP. HIGH 19.8 2.1
CHEROKEE CO POLARIS EVENING HIGH SCHOOL 19.8 2
DODGE CO DODGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL 22.1 1.9
MERIWETHER CO GREENVILLE HIGH SCHOOL 17.8 1.9
CRISP CO CRISP COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL 18.9 1.8
ATLANTA CITY TECH HIGH SCHOOL 17.8 1.7
JEFFERSON CITY JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL 21.5 1.7
SEMINOLE CO SEMINOLE CO MID/HIGH SCHOOL 19 1.7
ATLANTA CITY NORTH ATLANTA HIGH SCHOOL 19.9 1.6
CHATHAM CO SAVANNAH HIGH SCHOOL 16.2 1.5
GWINNETT CO NORTH GWINNETT HIGH 23.9 1.5
JEFF DAVIS CO JEFF DAVIS HIGH SCHOOL 20.1 1.5
STEPHENS CO STEPHENS CO. HIGH SCHOOL 20.4 1.5
COLUMBIA CO EVANS HIGH SCHOOL 20.9 1.4
FULTON CO RIVERWOOD HIGH SCHOOL 25 1.4
ATLANTA CITY ALONZO A CRIM HIGH SCHOOL 15.4 1.4

TOP ACT SCHOOL DISTRICTS (average composite score)

District Score

FORSYTH CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 23.1
FAYETTE CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 22.5
OCONEE CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 22.5
FULTON CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 22.2
COBB CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 22.1
DODGE CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 22.1
GWINNETT CO PUBLIC SCHOOL DIST 22.1
CHEROKEE CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 22
BRYAN CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.8
LEE CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.8
WHITE CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.8
DECATUR CITY SCHOOLS 21.7
MARIETTA CITY SCHOOLS 21.7
COLUMBIA CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.6
JONES CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.6
BUFORD CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.5
DALTON PUBLIC SCHOOL DIST 21.5
GILMER CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.5
JEFFERSON CITY SCHOOLS 21.5
TRION CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.5
HABERSHAM CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.2
BLECKLEY CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.1
CARTERSVILLE CITY SCHOOLS 21.1
PICKENS CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21.1
BREMEN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT 21
CATOOSA CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 21
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