TRENDING UP: School systems improve average ACT scores

Published 7:52 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A new report released by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) shows that both local school systems improved average ACT scores from 2017 to 2018.

Pike County Schools was among the most improved school systems, rising from a system average of 17.5 to 18.1.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell said several programs are focused on improving ACT scores and that the system is aiming to surpass the state average score of 19.2 and even the national average score of 21.

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“We’re still not where we need to be, but we’re pleased with the progress we have made on our ACT scores,” Bazzell said. “We’ve put a concerted effort into improving the scores. We have some very specific programs in place that we had hoped would make a difference and some another initiative going in next year that we think is going to continue to help us in the right direction.”

Pike County High School improved from a 17.2 to a 17.8 from year-to-year and Goshen High School had the highest average ACT score in the county at 18.5, an increase from 18 in 2017.

Troy City Schools improved from an average score of 18 in 2017 to an average score of 18.3 in 2018.

“Every time that we receive any results from our testing, we sit down and look at ways that we can improve our instruction and improve on testing,” said Dr. Lee Hicks, Troy City Schools superintendent. “We try to look at every bit of information and data any discrepancy we address it head on.”

Pike County Schools has seen significant improvement from 2015 scores, when the system average was 16.8. Troy City Schools has fallen slightly from an average score of 19 in 2015.

Hicks said the administration is always studying the data and doing what it can to improve on results.

“We have to look at every little factor, whether we have a drop or increase,” Hicks said. “We’re going to control what we control, which is the quality of the instruction.”

Both Hicks and Bazzell pointed to early awareness and practice with the ACT as an important factor for raising grades.

“We do have ACT preparatory classes that we offer,” Hicks said. “We put an emphasis on it with all our students who are planning on going to college, they’re trying to take the ACT at an early age so they’re familiar with it. Students now will take it in the ninth and 10th grade before they take the required test in 11th. It used to be that some students would make it through their entire career without taking it if they were not planning on going to college.”

Bazzell said the academy system actually helps expose students to the ACT earlier as well.

“The reality is there is criteria for getting into those programs; the students don’t just apply and get in, they have to meet the admission requirements of Troy University and Enterprise State including a high enough score on the ACT,” Bazzell said.

Pike County Schools saw improvement in three of four ACT subjects from 2017 to 2018. Reading rose from 18.1 to 18.7, math from 17.3 to 17.7, English from 16.8 to 17.5 and science stayed level at 18.1.

Troy City Schools saw decreases in reading and science scores with increases in math and English scores. Reading dropped from 19 to 18.7, science dropped from 18.9 to 18.4, English rose from 17.5 to 18 and Math rose from 17.2 to 17.3.

Because Pike Liberal Arts School is not a public school, it is not included in the report.