ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County’s 2011-12 11th-grade ACT scores were below the state average in every subject, but school leaders believe strong scores on the eighth-grade ACT Explore exams are indications of a brighter future.
The Hawkins County ACT scores indicates that 9 percent of this year’s graduates who took the ACT exam as juniors during the 2011-12 school year met the state benchmark for college readiness in all four subject areas.
The state average for college readiness in all four subjects is 16 percent.
Assistant Director of Schools Steve Starnes presented the Hawkins County Board of Education Thursday with results from last year’s 11th-grade ACT tests; 10th grade ACT PLAN tests; and eighth-grade ACT Explore tests.
Although the 2011-12 ACT scores were below state average in every subject, as well as in the composite scores, there was significant improvement over the previous year’s scores.
The state average composite score for 2011-12 is 19.7, and the highest possible score is 32. In 2011-12 Cherokee High School had a composite score of 18.7, Volunteer High School had a composite of 18.4, and Clinch School had a composite of 15.5, for an overall system composite of 18.5.
That’s an improvement over the previous year for Cherokee and Volunteer which had composite scores of 18.2 and 18.1 respectively, and for the system as a whole which was at 18.1 last year.
Cherokee and Volunteer also improved over the previous year in English, Science and Math. Cherokee improved in reading while Volunteer dropped a tenth of a point in reading.
Clinch School 11th-graders declined in every subject from the previous year except reading, which bumped from 15.5 to 16.3.
Starnes said the ACT data also shows that more Hawkins County 11th-graders missed the state’s “college readiness benchmark” in every subject than the state average.
The English composition college readiness benchmark was a score of 18 or better. Statewide 59 percent of 11th-graders who took the ACT scored at or above the benchmark, but in Hawkins County the average was 51 percent, including 49 percent at Cherokee, 36 percent at Clinch and 53 percent at Volunteer.
The social science college readiness benchmark is a score of 21 or better. Statewide 43 percent scored at or above the benchmark, but in Hawkins County the average was 37 percent including 35 percent at Cherokee, 9 percent at Clinch and 40 percent at Volunteer
The algebra college readiness state benchmark is a score of 22 or better. Statewide 29 percent scored at or above the benchmark, but in Hawkins County the average was 19 percent including 24 percent at Cherokee, zero percent at Clinch and 14 percent at Volunteer.
The biology college readiness benchmark was a score of 24 or better. Statewide 21 percent scored at or above the benchmark, but in Hawkins County the average was 13 percent including 14 percent at Cherokee, zero percent at Clinch and 14 percent Volunteer.
Across the state 16 percent of all 11th-graders met the benchmark in all four subject. In Hawkins County the average was 9 percent including 10 percent at Cherokee, zero percent at Clinch and 8 percent at Volunteer.
Starnes noted that students taking ACT prep tests in lower grades are improving.
There were 18 eighth-graders countywide who had perfect scores in at least one subject on the 2012-13 ACT Explore test. Starnes said the school system is counting on those younger students to continue their trend of high achievement.
“One of the things ACT recommends is exposing students to Algebra I sooner,” Starnes told the BOE. “We’ve actually started an online Algebra I class at all our middle schools this year. We’ve had 27 students (enroll) on the upper end who will feed into Volunteer, and we have 11 students on the lower end who are taking an online Algebra I class through the Niswonger Foundation.”
Starnes added, “We’re hoping those students can go in and take geometry because scores really elevate on the ACT when you go above Algebra II. We want these students to be able to exceed Algebra II before they take this test their junior year.”
Starnes said that there are now ACT preparation classes for all high school students countywide.
“We are also formulating an ACT improvement team and will continue to look at this information,” Starnes said. “The more aligned our curriculum is with the common core, we think instruction to that level of rigor will help increase our ACT scores as well.”