By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Students in Tennessee have set a new record on ACT test scores, scoring an average composite score of 20.2, an increase over last year’s average of 20.1, according to a release from the state Department of Education.
Students in Williamson County saw an even greater increase from the previous year, scoring an average composite score of 25.4, compared to last year’s average of 25.2.
“I’m exceedingly proud of our students, their parents and our teachers for all the work that they’ve done,” Superintendent Mike Looney said. “In Williamson County we did focus on ACT scores because that leads to college applications success and scholarship success, and that’s been one of our drivers. I’m just exceedingly proud of everybody — it speaks for itself.”
This will be the eighth year in a row ACT scores in Williamson County Schools have increased, with the district reporting an average ACT score of 22.7 back in 2010.
Statewide, an additional 2,000 students took the ACT test when compared to last year, bringing the participation rate to 97 percent – a new record for Tennessee.
Regarding the scores on particular subjects, students in Tennessee increased the average scores of all subjects from the previous year except for science, which remained stagnant. Statewide scores averaged 19.7 for English, an increase of .2, 19.5 for math, an increase of .1, 20.7 for reading, an increase of .3, and 20.3 for science, which remained the same from 2017.
“The ACT provides an opportunity for our students to show they are college and career ready, and seeing a higher average score at the same time more students are taking the test is a true testament to the work that is happening in Tennessee schools,” said education commissioner Candice McQueen in a statement. “Our schools are increasingly moving toward deeper teaching and learning that meets our higher expectations, and that focus pays off on tests like the ACT and SAT.”
Students who score 21 or above on a particular subject on the ACT test are considered “college ready,” meaning they are deemed capable of passing a first-year college-level class in that subject. Students who score 21 or above on the ACT test are also eligible for the Tennessee Hope Scholarship, which allots up to $1,750 a semester for college freshmen and sophomores, and $2,250 for juniors and seniors.
Additionally, students who are considered economically disadvantaged in Tennessee had the greatest increase in average ACT scores of any group, increasing from 17.5 to 17.7 over last year.
“With increased ACT access and participation, our state has sent a strong signal to the country that Tennessee is committed to providing opportunities for our students’ futures,” McQueen said in a statement. “With these results, more students are able to receive scholarship dollars, gain entry to postsecondary programs, and eliminate the need for remedial classes, allowing them to start their journey to lifetime success from day one.”