More students in Georgia are taking the ACT standardized test on English, reading, math and science than ever before, according to data released Wednesday.
And the composite state average of 21.4 in 2018 scores (unchanged from 2017) bested the national average, which fell to 20.8 this year (36 is the highest score a student can achieve).
In Hall County, 620 students took the test and averaged 21.2. In Gainesville, 148 students scored an average of 19.5. Buford students averaged 23.5.
Though less popular than its counterpart, the SAT (which, along with PSAT-related assessments, more than 7.3 million students took in 2017), the ACT standardized test is important for providing “graduates a second assessment for college entry,” Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams said.
ACT test participation in Georgia rose by nearly 6,000, with 56,481 students in the state’s 2018 graduating class taking the exam.
“The benefit to students is a more detailed feedback on their college readiness,” Williams said, adding that many students take both the ACT and the SAT.
According to the Georgia Department of Education, the percentage of Peach State students meeting the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks — which predict students’ success in college — surpassed the national average in three of four subject areas: English, reading and science.
Across the nation, about 1.9 million students took the ACT in 2018, 55 percent of the entire senior class.
And more than 542,000 students from low-income households were offered waivers to take to take the ACT test for free.
“ACT traditionally has been more aligned to what students learn in high school,” Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield said. “It is often the case that some do better on one than the other.”