Average ACT score at PLAS exceeds national benchmark

Published 8:04 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Students at Pike Liberal Arts School are excelling with an average ACT score above the state and national averages.

Principal Eric Burkett said the average ACT score of 23.5 at the school is a testament to strong teaching as well as a solid commitment from students and parents to prepare for the test.

“We offer an ACT prep course that our 10th grade students take and we’ve seen a good bit of progress and stability in scores coming from that class,” Burkett said. “The class is taught by Janice Waldrop and she has always done a great job with that class.”

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But the credit extends far beyond just an ACT preparation class, Burkett said.

“I think a lot of our success comes from the academic classes that we offer on a regular basis,” Burkett said. “We have some very strong teachers at Pike and students with good study habits. We preach the importance of the ACT score when it comes to college admission. They know the scores they need to strive for at different colleges that they’re interested in.”

Burkett said students are taking the ACT as early as seventh grade, giving them a feeling for what the test is like so that they can improve scores when it really counts.

“It’s not a test you can prepare for two weeks ahead,” Burkett said. “We instill that into them at every level. Taking it early, they know where they may have struggled and they know what to work on. You can talk about it all day, but you don’t know what to really expect until you go and actually take it.”

A report published last week buy the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama revealed a state average among public schools of a 19.2 ACT score, with local public school systems trailing just behind that number. The national average for public schools is 21.

“We’re proud to be above the state and national average,” Burkett said. “We never say that we don’t have any more work to do; we want he scores to get even better. But we’re proud of that average.”

And those scores aren’t just intangible figures, Burkett said – they pay off.

“Our senior class that just graduated was awarded $750,000 among 32 kids,” Burkett said. “That’s why the ACT is so important.”