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Newton schools see increase in ACT scores

COVINGTON — More students took the ACT college-entrance exam last year and the overall scores have improved, according to the Newton County School System.

The ACT is an entrance exam used by many colleges and universities based on four content areas with an overall score of 36. The test also has an optional writing portion.

According to a press release from NCSS, the number of Newton County students who have taken the test increased by 52 since the last school year. At the same time, scores rose in all content areas countywide, with the overall composite score climbing from 18.5 to 18.8. Although Newton schools have seen a slight increase in ACT scores over the last year, they are still below both the state and national averages. Georgia’s average composite score was 20.8 in 2014, while the national composite score was 21.0, according to the state Department of Education.

“I’m very proud of the increases across the board this year on the ACT,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey in the press release. “We’re not where we want to be on our college entrance exams, but we are definitely heading in the right direction. Our ultimate goal is to provide a rigorous education that ensures all students are college- and career-ready upon graduation.”

Some content areas showed greater improvement than others. The average English score in Newton County went from 17.9 in 2012-13 to 18.1 this past school year. Math scores likewise rose a bit, from 17.8 to 18.1. Reading scores additionally saw an increase, going from 19.0 to 19.7; as well as science, which went from 18.6 to 19.0. The school system’s overall ACT composite score went from 18.5 to 18.8 in the past year.

Mirroring the district’s overall ACT score increase, Alcovy High School saw an increase in all content areas in 2014. English scores went from 17.5 to 17.9, while math scores went from 17.5 to 17.8, and reading scores increased from 18.8 to 19.3. Science scores went up from 18.4 to 18.5.

Newton High reported increases as well since 2013. ACT English scores went from 16.9 to 17.2, math rose from 17.2 to 17.7, and science scores went from 17.9 to 18.5. Newton High’s biggest score increase was in the reading area, which went from 17.9 to 18.8.

Eastside High additionally had score increases in most areas. The school’s ACT math scores went from 19.1 in 2012-13 to 19.3 in 2014, reading scores increased from 21.0 to 21.2, and science scores rose slightly from 20.0 to 20.1. However, the school’s English scores saw slight dip, going from 19.7 to 19.5.