ACT scores down across state

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 04:54 PM

North Carolina's average ACT score dropped this year.

The same is true of Union County Public Schools' average. 

The composite score for 2012 was 22.8 in Union County and this year it was 19.9, Carolyn White, director of student services and testing, said. 

In 2012 only 630 students were tested and those students chose to take the test and paid to do so. This past year, 2,637 students took the test.

"When you test everybody...the scores are different," White said.

This was true across the state. In past years about 20 percent of students took the ACT, according to a statement from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. 

The state's composite score in 2012 was 21.9 points and the composite score in 2013 was 18.7 points.

The national average also fell from 21.1 points to 20.9 points. 

North Carolina is one of nine states that test 100 percent of its students with the ACT, according to the statement.

The ACT scores are a part of the READY school accountability model to measure college-readiness for high schools.

"The State Board of Education made a bold decision to measure college readiness for all students," State Superintendent June Atkinson said in a statement. "When we began this process, we knew that our first scores would be lower, but it is important to get a true picture of where we are in order to improve. We know we have our work cut out for us in terms of raising student expectations and preparing 100 percent of our students for community college- or university-level work." 

White said they are working with high school principals to develop plans to improve ACT scores next year. She noted that the 2013-2014 scores will provide a fairer comparison.

"When you're comparing everybody taking it to 630 students, you want the scores to be higher, but you expect them to be lower, but yes, you want them to improve," White said.