County scores best state

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2004

High school ACT scores in the county continue to increase yearly, according to Susan Seng, counseling/test specialist for the Shelby County school system.

She also pointed out that Shelby County students, who scored a composite average of 21.6, beat the state composite average of 20.2 and the national composite average of 20.9.

The ACT is a college entrance exam that tests English, math, reading and science reasoning. The score range is 1 to 36 with 36 being the highest.

The state Department of Education recently announced that for the eighth consecutive year the average score of Alabama’s college-bound students was higher than those in neighboring states.

The state averaged a score of 20.2, up from 20.1 in 2003, while the 12-state region accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools improved slightly from the previous year to 20.1.

Also according to the state, a record number of Alabama public and private students (31,548) took the test as compared to 31,449 from the previous year.

Seng said more than 900 Shelby County high school students took the latest ACT test for which the composite average was 21.6.

She said that number is up from 21.5 the year before and 21.3 the year before that.

Seng also said the state composite average of 20.2 compares to a national composite average of 20.9.

According to Seng, in Shelby County average English scores were 22 compared to 20.3 for the state; math average scores were 20.8 compared to 19.5 for the state; reading average scores were 21.9 compared to 20.5 for the state and science average scores were 21.3 compared to 20.1 for the state. She said the average English score in Shelby County was an improvement

from 21.6.

Individual Shelby County Schools average composite scores compared to the previous year

are as follows: Calera, 20 up from 19.6; Chelsea 20.6 down from 21.2, but with 10 more students participating; Montevallo 19.9 up from 19.5; Oak Mountain 23.4, up from 22.9 with 40 more students taking the test; Pelham, 21.9 up from 21.6 with 40 more kids taking the test; Shelby County 19.4, down from 20.1 with 10 more students taking the test; Thompson 20.6, down slightly from 20.7; and Vincent 18.9, down from 19.9 but with a few more students taking the test.

&uot;I’m always pleased&uot; with the ACT report said Seng.

&uot;We’re getting more students taking it each year. We continue to go up,&uot; she said.

&uot;It is encouraging that more students are interested in pursuing higher education by taking the ACT and doing well on it,&uot; said

David Byers, state board of education vice president.

According to the state board, the ACT score results indicate 67 percent of Alabama students have the key academic skills needed for first-year college English composition compared to 68 percent nationally.

In the subjects of college math and science, the ACT data reflect 30 percent of Alabama’s graduates are ready for success in college algebra and 20 percent are prepared for first-year college biology. Nationally, that compares with 40 percent for mathematics and 26 percent in college science.

ACT college readiness benchmarks are 18 on English, 22 on mathematics and 24 percent on science.

Shelby County School Superintendent Evan Major said one thing he has observed during the past several years is that Shelby County schools are at or above the state average.

&uot;That speaks well for the teachers of Shelby County, and students are doing well academically. And those students who are college-bound are doing as well or better than the rest of the state or the nation. I’m proud of them. We need to keep up the good work,&uot; Major said