ACT scores rise slightly

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Natchez High seniors Lamonth Mazique, left, and Marion Grace write in their journals in English class.

NATCHEZ — Two local high schools met or beat the national average of ACT scores, and though the public school district improved its scores, those scores still fell 4.9 points lower than the U.S. average.

Cathedral School students averaged 22.7 on the college entrance exam, 1.5 points higher than the national average of 21.2.

The average composite score in Mississippi was 18.7.

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The highest possible ACT score is 36.

Cathedral High School Chief Administrator Pat Sanguinetti said CHS’s average scores by subject area were 23.6 in English, 21.4 in math, 23.4 in reading and 21.9 in science.

The averages were based on 36 students’ scores, and Sanguinetti said he was very pleased with the results, which he attributes to an ACT prep course all juniors are required to take.

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Natchez High’s Virginia Robertson helps Jasmine Coach during English class Wednesday afternoon at Natchez High School.

“We’ve been doing an ACT prep course for several years,” he said. “We’re very fortunate that through federal program money, we’ve been able to accommodate it.

“The biggest thing is kids need to get online and do practice tests so they understand the type of test they’re going to take.”

Trinity Episcopal School’s Interim Headmaster, the Rev. Brandt Dick, said 30 students’ scores were factored into the school’s most recent ACT average — 21.2.

“The top score was a 30,” he said. “The median score was a 23.”

Dick said he didn’t have a breakdown per subject on hand.

Natchez High School Principal Cleveland Moore said the school’s most recent ACT results are the average of approximately 160 students’ results, and the average composite score is 16.3 — up from last year’s 15.8.

Moore said Natchez High students’ ACT scores are up in every subject except math, which stands at 15.8 this year, down from last year’s 15.9.

Science scores are up from 16.5 to 17.2, with reading up from 15.5 to 16.5, he said.

“What we’re trying to do here at Natchez High School is provide a coherent foundation of knowledge and skill that our students can build upon each year as they prepare for college,” Moore said. “That’s our overall goal.”

Data on shows that as the percentage of graduates who participate in the ACT increases, the average composite score drops.

In Mississippi, 100 percent of graduates were tested, and the state has the lowest scores in every subject except English, in which it tied with Arizona for the lowest score of 18.7, the data shows.

The ACT is not required for high school graduation, but nearly every southern university requires that students submit a score before being accepted.

Massachusetts has the highest scores in every subject, with 22 percent of graduates tested and a composite score of 24.2.

The national composite score of 21.1 reflects 49 percent of national graduates being tested, according to

Despite repeated calls, Adams County Christian School’s ACT results could not be obtained.