Natchez High among the state’s bottom 10 in recent ACT score report

Published 3:37 pm Friday, October 28, 2022

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Natchez High School ranks in the bottom 10 of Mississippi public high schools based on ACT test performance for spring 2022.

The Mississippi Department of Education on Friday released ACT results for the spring 2022 statewide administration of the ACT to all public high school juniors.

The average score for juniors increased from 17.3 in 2021 to 17.4 in 2022. The percent of juniors meeting the benchmark scores for all four tested ACT subjects increased from 8.9 percent in 2021 to 9.3 percent in 2022.

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At Natchez High, however, the average composite score was 13.7, nearly four points below the state average and ranking as the seventh-lowest score in the state.

The Natchez Early College average composite score was 18.5, more than a point above the state average. And the combined score for the district was 14.9.

Lowest in the state was Williams School, with an average composite score of 12.0.

Wilkinson County High School was fifth-lowest, with an average composite score of 13.4. Amite County was eighth-lowest, with a score of 13.7. Jefferson County High School average composite was 15.0. Franklin County High School average score was 17.8.

Mississippi is one of 15 states that administers the ACT to all high school juniors.

Scores for Mississippi public school students who graduated in 2022 decreased from 17.8 to 17.5, though the average composite superscore was 20.7. Superscores are generated when students take the ACT multiple times and the student’s best scores from each of the four tested ACT subjects are combined.

The national average ACT score for all public-school students in the class of 2022 was 19.3, down from 19.9 in 2021. ACT scores nationwide have dropped in recent years as the population of students taking the test has broadened.

The ACT is designed to predict how well students will perform in college, and colleges use standardized tests like the ACT to compare students across schools and states. ACT research shows students who take four or more years of English and three or more years each of math, social studies and natural science typically outperform their peers who report taking fewer courses in these subjects.

“High schools should continue to challenge students through higher levels of English, math and science courses to improve student performance on the ACT,” said Dr. Kim Benton, state superintendent of education, interim. “Families are encouraged to work with high school counselors to ensure students are taking courses that will equip them for success now and after graduation.”

The MDE provides districts with training related to analyzing ACT data, evaluating course taking patterns and designing ACT preparation courses. In addition, school districts offer two specialized classes, the Essentials for College Literacy and the Essentials for College Math, as an option to help seniors who need to improve their ACT scores to qualify for early release. Students who earn a grade of 80% or higher in these courses are entitled to enter credit-bearing college courses, without remediation, at all Mississippi public universities and most community colleges.

See a complete breakdown of scores here.