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ACT scores show slight drop for local juniors

High school juniors locally scored slightly lower on ACT tests taken in the spring, which is line with the state average, according to results for the spring 2019 statewide administration released recently by the Mississippi Department of Education.

Across the state, the average ACT scores for public high school juniors decreased from 17.8 in 2018 to 17.6 in 2019. The percentage of juniors meeting the benchmark scores for all four tested ACT subjects remained flat at 9 percent from 2018 to 2019.

ACT scores nationwide have dropped in recent years as the population of students taking the test has broadened.

Students who take four or more years of English and three or more years each of math, social studies and natural science typically outperform their peers who report taking fewer courses in these subjects.

“ACT research shows that taking certain specific courses in high school substantially increases students’ readiness for college level work as well as their readiness for workforce training programs,” said State Superintendent Carey Wright.

MDE provides districts with training related to analyzing ACT data, evaluating course taking patterns and designing ACT preparation courses.

All school districts are now required to offer two specialized classes, the Essentials for College Literacy and the Essentials for College Math, to seniors who are on the cusp of meeting the ACT benchmark scores. All students who earn a grade of 80 percent or higher in these courses are entitled to enter credit-bearing college courses, without remediation, at all Mississippi public universities and community colleges.

As a whole, juniors in the Lincoln County School District showed a slight decrease in scores, dropping from 17.9 in 2018 to 17.5 in 2019, but juniors at Bogue Chitto and Enterprise both raised composite scores in the 12-month period.

Bogue Chitto juniors went from 17.0 to 17.3, while Enterprise saw a bump from 17.0 to 17.1. Juniors at Loyd Star decreased scores from 17.7 to 17.0 and at West Lincoln, scores dropped from 20.0 to 18.4.

Brookhaven High School juniors decreased from 18.2 in 2018 to 17.8 in 2019 and Franklin County High School juniors dropped from 17.5 to 16.7.

Lawrence County High School juniors showed an improvement from 2018 to 2019, increasing the average composite score from 16.9 to 17.6.

The highest composite scores, though still a decrease, came from Mississippi School for the Arts in Brookhaven. Juniors scored 22.5 in 2018, but dropped to 20.7 in 2019.