2010-11 ACT Scores
Area # Tested English Math Reading Science Composite 2010 Composite
Alcovy High School 196 17.3 18.0 18.4 18.1 18.1 18.9
Eastside High School 154 20.2 19.8 21 20.4 20.5 20.8
Newton High School 240 16.4 17.7 17.6 17.7 17.5 17.8
Sharp Learning Center 1 10 13 12 16 13 N/A
NCSS 591 17.7 18.3 18.8 18.5 18.4 18.9
Georgia 42,929 20.1 20.7 20.8 20.3 20.6 20.7
Nation 1,623,112 20.6 21.1 21.3 20.9 21.1 21
Source: Newton County School System
COVINGTON — Overall, high school students in the Newton County School System are still performing below state and national levels on the ACT, a college entrance exam.
The average score of the 591 NCSS students who took the ACT, or the American College Test, for the 2010-11 school year was 18.4. In Georgia, the average score was 20.6, and nationally it was 21.1, according to results recently released by NCSS and the Georgia Department of Education.
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test designed to measure college readiness and preparation. The ACT includes four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science. There is also an optional writing portion.
The exam is scored on a scale from 0 to 36.
The state report reveals that more of Georgia’s students — 9,015 in 2011, compared to 8,282 in 2010 — demonstrated college and career readiness this year in all four areas — English, reading, mathematics and science — of the test. Nationally, 25 percent of ACT test-takers demonstrated college readiness, according to State School Superintendent John Barge.
“These findings show more of our students are college and career ready,” Barge said. “But, we still must close the gap with the national average because our students will be competing for entry into college and for jobs with students from all over the country, not just students from Georgia.”
Newton’s average score is about the same as it was last year, when 582 students scored an average of 18.9 on the test.
“Current ACT results did not get this way overnight,” said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews in a press release. “There is simply no magic wand or silver bullet when it comes to improving student learning; just smarter work. At the school level, smart work must include utilizing our Professional Learning Communities to know who our struggling students are — by name — in order to provide the necessary small-group or individual remediation necessary to increasing a student’s academic success and college readiness.”
Mathews said only 47 of the 591 students — or about 8 percent of the students — were deemed college ready. Last year, about 10 percent were determined to be ready based on indicators.
“College readiness is a very important indicator of school system quality when it comes to companies looking to locate here or parents who wish their children to be prepared for college success,” Mathews said. “And, in the near future, the state of Georgia’s new Adequate Yearly Progress … proposal to the federal government is all about college and career ready, inclusive of ACT results.”
He said the new instructional focus period at the high school level could assist students. Additionally, each high school will offer classes like SAT Prep and Tools for College Success, and all 10th-grade students will take the preliminary SAT for the second consecutive year.
“While it is much easier though not always easy to impact minimum competency results such as the (Georgia High School Graduation Tests) or (Criterion-Referenced Competency Exams) through a higher quality of instruction well aligned to the intended and tested curriculum, it is a much more difficult proposition to produce students who are truly ready in college English composition, college reading in ... the four areas tested by the ACT,” Mathews said. “The latter is a product of years of quality college‐level preparation entailing the cumulative impact of elementary, middle and high school‐level education.”