• 68°

MSA receives highest ACT scores in area

In Lincoln County, Mississippi School of the Arts recorded the highest average ACT score among juniors at 21.8, according to recent data from the Mississippi Department of Education.

Following MSA is West Lincoln Attendance Center with a score of 20.1, Loyd Star Attendance Center at 17.8, Brookhaven High School at 17.7, Bogue Chitto Attendance Center at 17.4 and Enterprise Attendance Center at 17.3.

In 2015, MDE implemented mandatory ACT testing for all juniors. The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, math, reading and science. Scores range from 1-36.

“It was implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. They took it in the spring of 2015,” said Lincoln County Superintendent Mickey Myers.

In surrounding school districts, the highest scoring school was North Pike High with an average score of 18.1. The lowest was Crystal Springs High School with an average score of 14.8. Wesson Attendance Center had an average score of 17.5.

The average score state-wide for juniors in 2015 was 17.6 — 29,819 students took the test.

“One issue in the scores from the previous years what was reported was pretty much just college-bound students — those that elected to take the ACT,” Myers said about scores being higher in previous years.

Once the test was mandated, all juniors — regardless if they were prepared for college — had to take the test.

ACT reported a higher number for the average statewide score, but the group only counts graduating students, and many students in Mississippi never graduate.

“The drop-out rate — it’s pretty alarming where it is,” Myers said.

According to statistics released by MDE on students attending high school between 2008-2013, only 75.5 percent graduate after four years, while 13.9 percent drop out entirely. Myers stressed that there were programs in place to help students who had a difficult time graduating.

“They do have what’s called summer activity, where a student can go to some alternative school to gain their diploma the summer after their graduating class,” Myers said.

The drop-out rate in Brookhaven schools is 23.8 percent, and Lincoln County is 15 percent.