Posted: Thursday, November 9, 2017
Last year’s juniors in Greenville County Schools earned an average composite score on the American College Test (ACT) of 18.5, almost a full point higher that the state average of 17.7.
Nationwide, only 64 percent of juniors take the ACT, but as the result of a state law passed in 2014, all juniors in all public school districts in South Carolina take the ACT, regardless of their coursework selections, disability status, or interest in attending college. As a result, more than 5,000 juniors took the ACT in 2017, compared to 2015 when 1,977 GCS students were tested and posted an average score of 21.9. This year’s averages for both GCS and the state reflect a decrease from last year’s composite scores of 19.2 and 18.5, respectively.
“Pinpointing the reason why scores change from year to year is difficult since different groups of students are tested each year. We will have to wait and see if this indicates a trend or is simply a one-time occurrence. In the meantime, we will continue to analyze the data in an effort to determine areas for improvement and to understand why the results of this test run so counter to the SAT, which is a college entrance exam on which we exceed the performance average of the state and nation,” said Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster.
Though non-charter GCS schools used paper and pencil to administer the ACT test last year, local charter schools and many districts throughout South Carolina used the ACT’s online system, which experienced significant problems. According to a release from the South Carolina Department of Education, on May 15, 2017, ACT, Inc. indicated that technical issues with online test takers “may have created disruptions or distractions, altered the timing of the tests, led students to change their test-taking strategy, or had other impacts. The scores from an administration where technical problems occurred may not be an accurate reflection of a student’s knowledge or skills. Technical issues that occurred during online testing may have compromised the validity of some student scores.”
Greenville County Schools will continue to administer the ACT using pencil and paper until issues with the online system are resolved.
Greenville County Scores by Subject Area
- The ACT subject test with the highest average score was Reading, followed by Science, Math and English.
- The ACT Reading score average – 18.9
- The ACT Science score average – 18.7
- The ACT Math score average – 18.5
- The ACT English score average – 17.3