The most recent graduating class of Rutherford County Schools scored a seven-year high 20.2 composite score on ACT tests taken earlier this year, according to results released today by the Tennessee Department of Education.
The combined graduating class of 2016 scored .8 higher than the state public school average of 19.4 and .3 higher than their 2015 Rutherford counterparts, who scored 19.9 last year.
The class of 2016 was also .8 higher than the 19.4 state average of public schools from throughout Tennessee.
“I am very pleased to see the upturn in ACT scores,” said Director of Schools Don Odom. “Our teachers are raising the academic bar.”
Dr. Andrea Anthony, coordinator of secondary schools, added, “Our 2015-16 ACT district team that we developed last year and our administrators have been working diligently to improve the ACT scores and increase college readiness.”
In 2010, the state began to require all juniors to take the ACT and seniors had the option to retake the test.
The composite score for Stewarts Creek (20) was up a staggering 1.4 points, while Holloway improved a full point. LaVergne had a .7 increase followed by .6 from Riverdale and .5 by Siegel and Eagleville.
Central Magnet matched last year’s astonishing composite score of 28.5.
The curriculum-based test measures educational development in English, mathematics, reading and science, according to the ACT College Board. The test is designed to assess the skills needed for success in first-year college coursework.
RCS exceeded the state average of students in all four college-level benchmarks.
Test results were highest in reading, where students scored 20.5 compared to 20.3 in science, 20.1 in English and 19.5 in math. English scores were .5 above the state average of 19.6 for both public and private schools, while science scores were .4 above the average.
Science, English and composite scores were all six-year highs by a tenth of a point. Reading and math scores tied the previous mark of 20.5 and 19.5 respectively.
“The emphasis on the importance of the ACT to our students’ future and drilling down the data to see what courses taken will add the biggest score change has definitely made an impact,” Anthony said.
Much of RCS’ success is attributed to making core curriculum a priority by ensuring students are taking the right courses, evaluating the rigors of those courses and planning guidance activities based on college and career aspirations.
The district is also providing students in grades 7-12 with ACT practice and analysis software ACT Exam Prep by Shmoop.
This year also marks the first time the Tennessee Department of Education is offering seniors an opportunity to retake the ACT at no additional expense to parents and students.
“Research clearly shows that students typically increase ACT scores by retaking the test,” Odom said. “Students who took the ACT test this past spring as a junior should contact their guidance counselor quickly to reschedule this one-time October opportunity for the retake.”
Retesting will be offered Oct. 22. The deadline to register is Sept. 16.
In letter to all 10 high school principals in Rutherford County, Odom congratulated them on their success and indicated the improved scores “puts us on track to reach the state’s goal for a composite score of 21.”
About Rutherford County Schools
Rutherford County Schools is an award-winning school district and an education leader in Tennessee. The district is comprised of 46 schools and more than 42,000 students. The mission of Rutherford County Schools is to empower today’s students to grasp tomorrow’s opportunities.