Rockdale ACT averages below state, nation

Rockdale County high school students on average are performing below state and national averages on the ACT.

At A Glance: 2012 ACT Scores

School/Area Number Tested English Math Reading Science Composite

Heritage 157 20.2 20 20.7 20.6 20.5

Rockdale County 204 18.8 19.3 20 19.6 19.5

Salem 136 17.6 17.7 18.7 18.4 18.2

Magnet 7 27.6 29.7 28.4 28.7 28.7

RCPS 504 19 19.2 20 19.7 19.6

Georgia 47,169 20.1 20.6 21 20.5 20.7

Nation 1,666,017 20.5 21.1 21.3 20.9 21.1

CONYERS -- Rockdale County high school students on average are performing below state and national averages on the ACT, results from last year's college entrance exam show.

The average score of the 504 Rockdale County students who took the ACT, or the American College Test, for the 2011-12 school year was 19.6. In Georgia, the average score was 20.7, and nationally it was 21.1, according to results recently released by RCPS.

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.

Across the state, 52 percent, or 47,169, of Georgia's graduating seniors took the ACT last year year. This is up from nearly 43,000 the previous school year, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

Locally, 40 less students took the test, compared to the previous year, and nationally, nearly 43,000 students took the test last year.

At Heritage High School, 157 students took the test and scored a composite of 20.5, the highest among the three high schools. In English, Heritage test takers scored a 20.2, in math a 20, a 20.7 in reading and a 20.6 in science.

At Rockdale County High School, 204 students took the test, scoring a composite of 19.5. In English, students scored an 18.8, in math a 19.3, a 20 in reading and a 19.6 in science.

At Salem High School, 136 students took the test and had a composite of 18.2. In English, Salem testers scored a 17.6, in math a 17.7, an 18.7 in reading and 18.4 in science.

At the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology, only seven students took the ACT last school year. Their composite was 28.7, the highest in the county and above both the state and national averages. Their subscores also were all above the state and nation -- in English, they scored 27.6, in math 29.7, 28.4 in reading and 28.7 in science.

Last year, the composite score for RCPS was 19.5.

"While we saw a slight increase in the composite score from last year, our goal is always to be above the state average," said RCPS Superintendent Richard Autry in a press release. "I am encouraged, however, that our content scores have slightly increased in reading and science and have shown no decrease in any subject. This is significant due to the challenges our students and teachers have been faced with such as changes in curriculum, accountability and resource availability. We are currently taking a deeper look at the results to pinpoint areas for improvement to better prepare our students for their future."

Last year, RCPS created academic rigor maps as basic guides for students and parents to choose the best pathway for college and career readiness, system officials said.

"As we implement the Career Pathways initiative, I believe students will begin seeing more relevance in courses they are taking, which will translate into an even higher percentage of our students scoring at college and career ready levels," said State School Superintendent John Barge in a press release.