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Georgia students see steady ACT scores, while nation drops

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MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,
Dorie Turner Nolt, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 656-5594,
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Aug. 21, 2013 – Georgia high school students’ scores on this year’s ACT college entrance exam held steady, even as a record number of students took the test and the national average score declined.
Georgia’s composite score this year was 20.7 – the same as last year – for public and private high school students, while the nation’s composite score dropped from 21.1 to 20.9. That means the gap between Georgia and the nation narrowed to .2 percentage points.
The Georgia ACT score is up from 2011 when students saw a composite of 20.6. Since then, the number of students taking the test has increased by more than 5,500. Generally, scores on such tests decline when the pool of test takers increases. More than half of Georgia’s high school students – 51 percent, or 48,505 students - took the ACT this spring, up from 47,169 in 2012.


This year, Georgia students scored better on the English (+0.1) and reading (+0.2) portions of the exam, while the math score dipped slightly (-0.3). The science score remained the same.

“I am proud to see our students’ scores gain ground on the national average on this important test,” State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. “But we know there is much work to be done to ensure that every student is ready for college or a career when they graduate high school. We are headed in the right direction.”
The report shows that a larger percentage of Georgia high school graduates (23 percent compared to the nation’s 26 percent) demonstrated college and career readiness this year in all four subject areas, up 1 percentage point from 2012. Readiness by subject area: English (64 percent), mathematics (38 percent), science (33 percent) and reading (43 percent).
The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are based on the grades earned by students actively enrolled in college and help to define a high school student's ACT performance relative to these benchmarks.
African-American and Hispanic students in Georgia also far outperformed the nation on the ACT. For African-American students, the composite score was 17.5, compared to the national average of 16.9. Hispanic students saw a composite score of 19.9, compared to the nation’s 18.8. White students in Georgia had an average composite score of 22.8, outpacing the national average 22.2.
“These numbers are very encouraging, but we must close the achievement gap between white and minority students,” Superintendent Barge said. “As we implement the Career Pathways/Clusters initiative, I believe students will see more relevance in courses they are taking and will be more engaged in their academic careers. That will translate into an even larger number of students being ready for college and careers.”
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test designed to measure college readiness and preparation. It includes four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science and an optional writing portion. The exam is scored on a scale from 0 to 36.