ACT scores improve

Published 2:49 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2016

High school students in Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties are performing more efficiently than before on the ACT college readiness test.

Though the three counties hold averages below those of the commonwealth, they are bridging the gap, as indicated by scores from 2016 graduates.

According to a recent Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) press release, the commonwealth’s percentage of students reaching the ACT’s benchmarks for college readiness are 15 or more points higher than the national average.

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The ACT tests students across four subject areas to ensure each student is prepared for first-year college English composition, reading, algebra and biology. The test is scored on a scale of 1-36 with 36 being the highest score, according to VDOE.

The counties saw 16, 21 and 30 students taking the test in Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties, respectively.

According to division superintendents, these numbers are increases from past participation in the test.

Buckingham Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead said students scored higher across the board in the county. The county improved by 1.2 points in English, 1.3 in math and .6 in science. In reading, the school scored .5 points higher.

The county’s overall composite score was .8 points higher than in 2014, Snead said.

“The growth did not put us over the state average, but the growth indicates we are trending in the correct direction thanks to the hard work of our teachers and students,” he said.

Cumberland County saw improvements in all of their scores except for science, where scores decreased by .1, according to Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin.

Increases in reading and English were .8 and 1.3, respectively. Math improved by .3, she said.

Overall the county’s scores were .5 higher than in 2015.

“Although we are currently below the state average, since 2012, we have been closing that gap and increasing as a division,” said Griffin.

Prince Edward County Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson said 10 students reached the English benchmark and seven met the reading benchmark. These were were the county’s areas of strength, Johnson said.

The county’s overall score is 18.6, Johnson said.

“Prince Edward County’s 5-year composite score trend has increased from 17.2 to 18.6,” Johnson said.

Across the commonwealth, public school students scored 23.1 overall, compared with 20.8 nationwide. Virginia’s scores improved in reading and science compared to the previous year, according to VDOE.