In a report issued this morning, a report released by the firm handling the tests states that the 2010 average composite score for Union County seniors was 17.0 on the ACT’s 36-point scale. The 2009 average was 18.2 in 2009 and 17.3 in 2008.
The number of seniors taking the exam increased from 81 in 2009 to 84 in 2010. Scores in the new report are from students who graduated in 2010, regardless of the year when they took the test.
Statewide composite scores increased from 19.8 to 20.0.
The ACT consists of curriculum-based tests of educational development in English, mathematics, reading, and science. These tests are designed to measure the skills needed for success in first year college coursework and to serve as an indication of how well students are prepared for college-level work. Although the SAT is taken by more students in South Carolina, all of the state’s colleges and universities accept ACT scores for admission requirements. Students must earn a 24 on the ACT to meet the college entrance exam requirement for a LIFE scholarship.
Director of Secondary Education Cindy Langley said that while the results are disappointing the district has already taken steps to address the problem.
“We are disappointed that performance on the ACT dropped, but we are confident that last year’s performance is a bump in the road and not the beginning of a new trend,” Langle said. “Teachers and counselors along with school and district administrators have collaborated in the development of a new schedule to ensure that instructional time is used more effectively and efficiently at Union County High School.
“For example, freshmen who were not in advanced eighth grade classes are now taking year-long classes in English, math, and social studies,” she said. “Taking these classes over a year rather than on the semester block schedule will give students more time to develop the fundamental skills needed for the advanced courses they will later take in high school and in college.”
Langley said the district will also make use of additional information sources to improve student performance.
“Additionally, we will continue to use the academic information from PLAN and EXPLORE, which students take in the tenth and eighth grade, to identify gaps in our curriculum and to increase the rigor of our courses,” Langley continued. “Both PLAN and EXPLORE, which are preliminary ACTs, also include a career inventory that counselors and career specialists use to assist students in developing their Individual Graduation Plans.”