High school students across the state made gains in virtually every subject area on the Accepted College Entrance Exam (ACT), even though more students took the test, according to results released recently by the Georgia Department of Education.
The ACT is designed to assess students’ general educational development, and ability to complete college-level work.
Based on state data, this year, the number of Georgia students taking the test increased over last year’s total –– from 44 percent (8,282 students in 2010), to 47 percent (9,015 in 2011).
The report also indicates that more Georgia students –– particularly ethnic subgroups –– are demonstrating college-and-career readiness in all subject areas –– English, reading, mathematics, and science.
“These findings show more of our students are college-and-career ready,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. He added, however, that the gap between Georgia’s students overall, and the national average, must be closed, since students in the state will be competing with their counterparts around the nation for college entry and jobs.
According to the DOE web site, nationally, 25 percent of students who take the ACT demonstrate college readiness. The report showed that Georgia’s test-takers had an average composite score of 20.6, which is down by .1 percentage points from last year’s 20.7, and is 0.5 percent less than the national average score of 21.1.
“Typically, when you see a significant increase in the number of students taking a test, you have a greater decline in the overall results,” said Barge. Fortunately, he said, the state didn’t see a dramatic decrease, “but any decrease is the wrong direction.”
On a more positive note, Barge said, when scores are broken down by race, Georgia’s students are outperforming the national average across the board. He said, according to the 2011 ACT report, African-American students had an average composite score of 17.5, which is higher than the national average of 17.0.
For Hispanic students, the average composite score was 20.1, higher than the national score of 18.7. Caucasian students had an average composite score of 22.8, higher than national average score of 22.4.
“One of the greatest highlights of the ACT report,” said Barge, “is seen with our subgroup performance.
“As we develop our Career Pathways, I am confident we will be able to provide relevance in our courses that is necessary to give students the skills needed for success in college and careers,” said Barge, “and also be able to perform well on college entrance exams, like the ACT.”
DOE officials said, for more information about state results on the ACT, and to obtain all reports, visit, www.gadoe.org.