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2014 ACT results: Georgia a leading state in Southeast

ATLANTA — State education officials are reporting that the 2014 ACT results show Georgia at the top of the pack among Southeastern states.

The state outperformed Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, West Virginia and South Carolina.

Officials said Georgia students also scored higher than those in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Arkansas, Hawaii, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.

“Our students’ performance continues to rise on the ACT, and that’s important to us because it’s a nationally comparative measure of their readiness for college,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “This is one of many indicators that shows us that our current initiatives, which aim to increase the rigor of our standards and level of expectations for students, are working. They will continue to work if Georgia stays the course.”

Students’ average composite score of 20.8 was similar to the national average of 21.0. Scores have risen steadily in recent years, from an average composite score of 20.6 in 2011 to 20.8 in 2014. Georgia’s ACT rank jumped from 37th in 2011 to 30th this year.

Scores in all four subject areas increased, with the average English score rising from 20.2 to 20.3, math from 20.3 to 20.5, reading from 21.2 to 21.4, and science from 20.5 to 20.7.

The number of Georgia high school students taking the ACT has increased by 29 percent since 2010, with a total of 50,697 students taking the test in 2014. Ninety-one percent of this year’s ACT-tested graduates aspired to post-secondary education.

There is also evidence of rising proficiency among the students who did not meet ACT’s Benchmark scores – minimum scores that indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher in the corresponding college courses, or a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher. Many of those students were only one or two points from meeting the Benchmark, particularly in science, reading, and English, where at least 10 percent of students were only one or two points below.

“This is where the work taking place in Georgia comes into play,” said Barge. “The state longitudinal data system; more rigorous standards; a consistent, high-quality testing program – continuing those initiatives will close gaps, and will ensure that more students are college-bound and ready for success after high school.”