ACT scores on the rise

Published 10:56 pm Friday, September 11, 2015

Suffolk Public Schools students, like their peers across the state, made gains in their scores on the ACT test last school year.

The scores of Suffolk students, however, lagged behind the national and state averages. The composite score for Suffolk students was 20.1, compared to 23.0 for public school students statewide and 21.0 for graduates nationwide.

But Suffolk Public School students increased their ACT scores in all four subject areas and in the composite score, spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said.

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The scores ranged from 19.2 in English to 20.7 in reading. Bradshaw said the largest gains were in English and science.

Each section is scored on a range from 1-36, and the composite score is the average of the four scores.

Bradshaw also said the number of Suffolk Public Schools students taking the ACT is on the rise. In 2015, 235 took it, up seven from last year and up from 137 in 2012.

Virginia students as a whole outperformed their peers nationwide by significant margins.

“As more Virginia students elect to take the ACT, the assessment becomes an increasingly useful measure of the commonwealth’s success in preparing young people for the challenges they’ll face in their first year of college,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said in a press release. “These latest ACT results are evidence that high state standards, innovative leadership at the division and building levels, and outstanding secondary teachers are producing better outcomes for more and more of Virginia’s high school graduates.”

Virginia public school 2015 graduates achieved statistically significant gains on the mathematics, reading, English usage and grammar, and science portions of the ACT, compared with the average scores in 2014. Performance of students nationwide was relatively flat.

While the number of Virginia students taking the ACT continues to grow, the SAT remains the dominant college-admissions test in the state. The College Board is expected to release its annual report on student achievement on the SAT in early September.