0

County, state students score higher on ACT

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County's recent graduates made the district's highest-ever composite score on the ACT, besting the state and national averages and improving in every subgroup on the college admissions exam, school district officials said Wednesday.

Seniors in Gwinnett County who graduated this year had an average score of 21.8 out of a possible 36 points, up from 21.6 last year, a news release from the school district states. A change of 0.05 in any score is considered statistically significant, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test that measures college readiness and preparation. The test is made up for four exams in English, reading, mathematics and science, and students can also take an optional writing portion.

Scores from individual high schools are still being authenticated and verified and will be released at a later date, district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

The district scores were higher this year than the state average of 20.3 and the national average of 21.2, the news release said. Statewide, students' composite scores rose from 20.2 last year, according to the DOE.

"It is encouraging to see Georgia's ACT scores continue to rise even as participation grows dramatically," State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox said in a statement. "I'm also very pleased to see that our African-American and Hispanic students continue to achieve at a higher level than their peers across the country."

In Gwinnett County, 2,450 students took the test, an increase of 325 students from 2006. In the state, participation increased from 25,064 to 29,465 students. Since 2003, ACT participation in Georgia has jumped by more than 56 percent.

Gov. Sonny Perdue praised the state's progress on the exam.

"Georgia received good news today (Wednesday) on the ACT: our scores are at an all-time high, our participation is up and our nationwide ranking is improving," he said in a statement. "Though our scores are rising, we're not yet satisfied. We will continue to strive for higher scores by providing improved access to AP (Advanced Placement) courses and online test preparation materials."

Georgia's scored tied with Alabama at 44th in the nation, higher than the scores in Washington D.C., Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and South Carolina.

Although Georgia has one of the highest ACT participation rates in the nation at 34 percent of high school seniors, the majority of students - about 70 percent - take the SAT.

The SAT data is expected to be released later this month, according to the DOE.

SideBar: At a glance

The following shows the average scores of Gwinnett County Public Schools students on the ACT. All scores are based on a scale of 0 to 36.

2005

2006

2007

English

20.5

20.8

21.0

Mathematics

21.5

22.0

22.4

Reading

21.3

21.7

21.8

Science

21.0

21.3

21.5

Composite

21.2

21.6

21.8

The following shows the average scores of Georgia's students on the ACT.

2005

2006

2007

English

19.4

19.8

19.9

Mathematics

19.8

20.1

20.3

Reading

20.3

20.5

20.6

Science

19.8

20.0

20.1

Composite

20.0

20.2

20.3