ACT scores hold steady for all students while subgroups improved scores
Posted on 10/31/2018
logoHamilton County graduate’s ACT composite score held steady for all students, and economically disadvantaged students showed increases across the board for 2018. The scores were announced today by Education Department Commissioner Candice McQueen. The composite for Hamilton County Schools held at 19.9 with a participation rate of 97 percent. The state average score was 20.2. Scores in math, English, and science remained within 0.1 of last year’s scores while reading saw a 0.2 increase. The average ACT score in each subject area was:
• 19.1 in English
• 19.2 in math
• 20.5 in reading
• 20.0 in science

A focus for the state under the Every Student Succeeds Act is ensuring that student groups are improving on ACT results. Economically disadvantaged students which make up 37.6 percent of the population in Hamilton County Schools increased their average score by 0.2 with the Class of 2017 scoring 17.2 and the Class of 2018 coming in at 17.4. These students also had a larger percentage of students scoring a 21 or higher and fewer students scoring 19 or below. The proportion scoring 21 or higher increased by 3.5 percent and the proportion scoring 19 or below decreased by 3.5 percent. They also increased the percent meeting college-ready benchmarks in all four subjects – up by 2.6 percent – while all students rose 1.2 percent. Economically disadvantaged students made the following gains in meeting college-ready benchmarks:
• English students increased 2.1 percent
• Math students increased 4.2 percent
• Reading increased 1.9 percent
• Science students increased by 2.8 percent

“The performance of our economically disadvantaged students is a compelling story in the ACT results,” said Shannon Moody, director of accountability and research for Hamilton County Schools.

High schools improving the ACT score for 2018 include STEM School Chattanooga, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, Tyner Academy, Signal Mountain High, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Ooltewah High, Soddy Daisy High, Hixson High, East Hamilton School, and Sequoyah High. Hamilton County Collegiate High has the highest composite score of 25.6. Schools with the largest increases in the group included STEM School with an increase of a whole point while Tyner Academy and Signal Mountain High increased by 0.6.

“Our school leaders, teachers, and counselors are focused on preparing our students for post-secondary opportunities,” said Dr. Justin Robertson, chief schools officer of Hamilton County Schools. “The ACT is one indicator of how prepared our graduates are for success after high school and this information will help direct our work to improve scores across Hamilton County.”

The district action plan Future Ready 2023 focuses on accelerating student achievement and making sure graduates are future-ready and prepared for success after graduation. One of the Focus Five performance targets in the action plan is improving performance on the ACT. The goal is to reach an average composite score of 21 on the ACT by the year 2023.

“ACT is an important indicator for post-secondary readiness, as well as HOPE scholarship opportunities, and our efforts focused in Future Ready 2023 will produce results for our high school seniors,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “When coupled with the significant increase in graduation rates for the class of 2018, and other indicators of student academic performance we are receiving very encouraging news about the value of our high school diploma in preparing students for success after graduation.”

Tennessee has focused on improving ACT and expanding access to students. The Class of 2018 was the second group to have access to a free opportunity to retake the ACT. The retake is helping students increase scores as the state reported nearly 40 percent increased their overall score by participating in ACT Senior Retake Day.

District scores
The Tennessee Department of Education uses students' best ACT scores—meaning that if a s¬¬¬tudent took the ACT multiple times, the score included in the results reported by the state is his or her highest score. The data in this state report is different than the results reported nationally by the ACT because the nationally reported scores are based on the last score a student received, regardless of whether it was the highest. The national ACT report also includes private school results.