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ACT scores improve, but county lags
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Tennessee students continue to reach new heights when it comes to ACT scores, setting a record in 2018 with an average statewide score of 20.2.


The good news for Warren County is ACT scores continue to inch higher, now up to a countywide average of 18.8. The bad news is Warren County is in the bottom 20 percent of all school districts statewide.


“We’re moving forward but ACT scores don’t move real fast,” acknowledged Director of Schools Bobby Cox.


Warren County has been moving in the right direction, up from an 18.4 average ACT score in 2016. Van Buren County has the lowest average ACT score in the state at 17.2. Germantown has the highest at 25.9.


ACT results are significant because they are used as a measuring stick by so many college officials, according to Cox.


“The ACT score is not a grade that goes on their report card, but it can definitely affect their future after high school,” said Cox. “For every point over 21 scored on the ACT, that translates to roughly $1,000 in scholarships. For students who get in the 30 range, they’re really looking at big dollars.”


Students with an ACT score of at least 21 are eligible for the state’s HOPE scholarship.


A score of 36 is considered a perfect ACT score. Cox points out Warren County has produced many students with high ACT scores, even 36, with lower students usually scoring in the 15 range.


Every student in Tennessee is required to take the ACT in order to graduate. The state’s ACT participation rate has climbed to 97 percent, the Department of Education reports.


“It doesn’t matter what they score on it, they just have to take it to graduate,” said Cox.


To better prepare students for the rigorous ACT, Cox said the school system purchases retired ACT tests no longer in use and begins giving those tests to students for practice as early as eighth grade.

Students generally take the ACT in April of their junior year with a possible retake in October of their senior year.