MSA students see ACT scores rise

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Seventy-three percent of students at Mississippi School of the Arts have improved their ACT scores.

The announcement comes after data was received from Jumpstart Test Prep in Brookhaven, whose program MSA implemented in the spring. Of MSA students with at least one prior ACT score, 73 percent improved an average of three points on their composite scores. In each subject area, scores improved an average of 3.3 points in math (67 percent), 3.24 points in science (64 percent), 4.02 points in English (76 percent) and 4.84 points in reading (56 percent).

The top achievers at MSA were:

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

• Elizabeth “Betty” Duggan — increase of 7 points composite; and 11 points reading

• Cecil Bolton — increase of 5 composite and 11 reading

• Hannah Lockett — increase of 6 composite and 7 in English

• Jonathan Tripp — increase of 5 composite and 10 in reading

• Amy Roberson — increase of 4 points composite, 11 in English and 6 in sciennce

• Keeley McColley- Schmidt — increase of 5 composite

“Jumpstart provides a streamlined, no-nonsense review of the skills my students need for success on the ACT,” said MSA teacher Tobie Lambert. “It cuts through the confusion by emphasizing the basic foundational skills needed, along with helpful tips and strategies. It has become the cornerstone of ACT prep in my class.”

The guidance and encouragement of administration also plays a huge role in raising scores.

“Congratulations to the students and teachers at the Mississippi School of the Arts on their accomplishments on the ACT! Through a partnership with Jumpstart Test Prep, MSA students increased their composite ACT scores by more than 2 points on average,” said Principal Avery Peagler. “Jumpstart provides a thorough and comprehensive review of ACT content complete with test taking strategies, which have continuously proven to help our students achieve more. With our teachers implementing Jumpstart Test Prep in their curriculum, MSA students continue to raise their ACT scores year after year.”

“MSA values our partnership with Jumpstart to provide high quality preparation materials to our students,” MSA Executive Director Suzanne Hirsch said. “The program allows for self-paced instruction and effective strategies that most students can follow. We have been a part of Jumpstart since the beginning and are proud to see the results year after year.”

Jumpstart Test Prep is an online review program based on over 50 years of work by Dot McClendon, a well-known educator and Mississippi’s 19-year STAR Teacher Hall of Fame inductee.

“As a teacher at The Mississippi School of the Arts and several other schools during my career, I was able to help guide the preparation of students in person,” said McClendon. “Now through our online, on-demand video review, students in MSA classrooms, as well as classrooms around the country, around the breakfast table, or on the couch at home, are able to benefit from our approach.”

For more information about Jumpstart Test Prep, visit