By Kathryn Schiliro, Managing Editor
While Morgan County fares better than in comparison to the state, recent ACT assessment data shows that local students still aren’t up to standards when it comes to being prepared for college-level coursework.
Analysis of 2013 local ACT scores shows that county students aren’t meeting the ACT-prescribed scores that indicate college readiness in Mathematics or Science, but are better than ACT-prescribed scores in English.
“Based on this ACT analysis, approximately 27 percent of Morgan County students taking this test are ready for success in college,” Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach wrote in an e-mail to the Citizen. “According to Dr. Ralph Bennett, Superintendent of Schools, this is a system concern that is being addressed at all schools.”
According to the ACT data, local students are consistently performing better than state averages in all four subject areas tested – English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology – with the previously mentioned 27 percent of students testing as being ready for college in all four areas, compared to Georgia’s average of 23 percent.
Breaking it down by subject area, 75 percent of local students have been deemed prepared for college, according to the ACT, in English Composition; 51 percent in Algebra; 49 percent in Social Science; and 35 percent in Biology. And these scores are better than state averages in all areas.
Further ACT score analysis also shows that students taking more classes in a specific subject area score better than students who’ve taken fewer classes in the same area. For example, in Mathematics, 24 percent of students who’ve taken Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus met the ACT-prescribed college readiness standard, compared to 17 percent of students who’ve taken just Algebra 1 and 2, and Geometry.
The same goes for Science scores: almost 21 percent of students who’ve taken General Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics scored better than the almost 20 percent students who’ve taken just General Science, Biology and Chemistry. In a twist as far as the set of Science scores, 25.5 percent of students who skipped General Science and went straight into Biology, Chemistry and Physics scored as ready for college.
School system administration shared that more post-secondary institutions are accepting ACT scores – in addition to SAT scores – and a growing number of seniors, even in Morgan County, are taking the ACT for college admission.
The number of Morgan County seniors taking the ACT has varied greatly over the past five years, decreasing from 81 in 2009 to 57 in 2010, up to 94 in 2011, down to 75 in 2012, then growing dramatically to 136 this year.
However, the amount of Georgia high school seniors taking the test has shown steady increase over the same amount of time, growing from more than 36,000 test-takers in 2009 to 48,500-plus in 2013.