Test scores released this week show Tennessee high school students continue to lag behind the national average when it comes to ACT results.
Tennessee’s average ACT score was 19.5, compared with the national average of 20.9.
Warren County is still behind the state average with Director of Schools Bobby Cox saying the ACT average for the local school district is right at 18.
Cox, who is in his second year as director, made improving ACT scores one of his priorities. Cox says due to the ACT schedule, the results from the first year of work won’t be seen until next year.
“The scores we get this year are for the group of seniors who graduated in 2013 and most of them took the test their junior year,” said Cox. “We initiated an ACT prep program last year so hopefully we will begin seeing better scores when we get those results in 2014.”
While local ACT scores were largely unchanged from previous years, Cox did say there was some improvement with the math section, particularly algebra.
ACT scores are widely accepted as a measure of academic knowledge as students make the transition from high school to college. Students are tested in categories that include English, reading, math and science.
The best showing by Tennessee students was in English, with 58 percent meeting the college-readiness measurement, compared with 64 percent nationally.
The biggest gap was in math, with 29 percent of Tennessee students being deemed college ready, compared with the U.S. rate of 44 percent.
The lowest overall subject score was in science, with 27 percent of Tennessee students doing well enough on the exam to be considered college ready, compared with 36 percent nationally.
In reading, the Tennessee college-readiness rate was 36 percent, compared with 44 percent in the U.S.
The results were revealed in the ACT’s yearly report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013.” The report was released Wednesday.
“What we know is students aren’t prepared the way we know they need to be to be successful,” said Jamie Woodson, president and CEO of State Collaborative on Reforming Education. “We know the marketplace is demanding exceptional things out of our students and we know that our students are capable.”
Woodson said she’s encouraged by efforts to improve Tennessee’s education system, but says right now, “We’re not where we need to be.”