Sullivan, Kingsport officials pleased with ACT results

Rick Wagner • Updated Nov 4, 2018 at 9:30 AM

Tennessee ACT scores and participation rates are up, with many area school systems comparing favorably to the Class of 2018 statewide ACT average of 20.2 as systems work toward the goal of 21 by 2020.

In the immediate Tri-Cities, on the college and career readiness standardized test, Sullivan County scored 20.3 and Kingsport 22 on a scale where 36 is a perfect score. Bristol was 21.3, Washington County 20.7 and Johnson City 22.3. The Tennessee Department of Education released its version of the ACT scores Halloween. They differ slightly from the ones ACT released earlier in October because of how they are calculated.

The department uses students' best ACT scores — meaning that if a s­­­tudent took the ACT multiple times, the score included in today's results is his or her highest score. This data is different than the results reported nationally by ACT, which are based on the last score a student received, regardless of whether it was the highest, and also include private school results. In addition, the state-released scores include only students who graduated in 2018.


Kingsport Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Moorhouse said Kingsport City Schools got a 2018 composite of 22.0 and KCS is ranked as the ninth highest district in Tennessee and is one of 11 districts in the state with a composite score of 22.0 or higher.

"It is impressive to see that the hard work of KCS students and educators have resulted in KCS being listed among the very highest achieving districts in Tennessee," Moorhouse said in a news release. "It proves yet again that the efforts of our educational community have resulted in KCS being ranked among the state's best, regardless of location, socioeconomic status, or other factors."

The participation rate for 2018 KCS seniors was 98 percent. The results show that 1,463 more Tennessee public school graduates became eligible for the HOPE scholarship by earning composite scores of 21 or higher. In 2018, 56.9 percent of KCS seniors earned a 21 or higher (or the equivalent SAT score).

"To again be considered among the top districts in Tennessee ACT scores is quite an honor, and a direct result of tremendous efforts by our students and staff," Dobyns-Bennett High School Principal Chris Hampton said. "To both significantly increase our ACT participation rate and maintain our standing as one of Tennessee's top districts is a testament to the hard work and dedication by our entire KCS community."

KCS Communications Editor Marybeth McLain said the D-B, D-B EXCEL and Cora Cox Academy are all in a single D-B composite ACT score.


Sullivan County Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said she was pleased with the overall increase among county graduates from 19.8 in 2017 to 20.4 in 2018, with three of four high schools increasing. The system went from a participation rate of the required 95 percent for 2017 (actually 94.8 but rounded up) to 99 percent for 2018.

Sullivan Central was 20.2, up from 19.4; East was 20.6, up from 19.4; North was 18.3, down from 19.8; and South was 21.6, up from 20.8. Among the graduating classes at the four schools was Central’s Clay Moody, who got a perfect 36. In addition, East is the home for scores of students at Jacobs Creek Job Corps and Crossing Point, while Sullivan House residents have their scores counted at Central.

“It can vary from year to year,” Rafalowski said. “I’m pleased with the improvement that our schools are showing. We are still trying to attain the composite of 21, which is the goal of the state of Tennessee by 2020.”

Starting for the 2018-19 school year, Rafalowski said the school system started a nine-week related arts ACT preparation class for all eighth graders, a class she said may be the only one of its kind in Tennessee.

As for the new West Ridge High School, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020 and take the place of Sullivan North and South high schools and most of if not all of Central, she said when West Ridge opens there likely will be a one-year realignment on ACT scores. 


In Hawkins County, the countywide ACT average was 19, down from 19.1 in 2017. Elsewhere across the region, Carter County was 19.3, Elizabethton 21.9, Greene County 18.7, Greeneville 21.9, Grainger County 18.3, Hancock County 18.8, Hamblen County (Morristown area) 20.5, Johnson County 19.2 and Unicoi County 19.9. 

For more information, go to the department’s website at www.TN.gov/Education.

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According to a news release Wednesday, Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen said Tennessee public school students once again broke the previous year’s record by earning an average composite score of 20.2 on the ACT in 2018.

Tennessee public high school graduates improved from the 2017 average of 20.1, with more than 2,000 additional students taking the exam this year, bringing the state’s participation rate up to 97 percent - also a new record high. The results also show that 1,463 more Tennessee public school graduates became eligible for the HOPE scholarship by earning composite scores of 21 or higher.

In addition, the 63,104 public school graduates who took the ACT increased their average score in most subject areas. The average ACT score for the public school graduating class of 2018 in each subject area was:

— 19.7 in English, up 0.2 points,

— 19.5 in math, up 0.1 points,

— 20.7 in reading, up 0.3 points; and

— 20.3 in science, same as 2017.

Germantown Municipal School District had the highest district ACT composite in the state for the third year in a row, posting a 25.9 average, up from their 2017 average of 25.5. Moore County Schools posted the largest gains in the state from 2017 to 2018, raising its average composite by 1.7 points to 20.6.

Three districts had more than 80 percent of their students scoring at or above a 21 on the ACT or the SAT equivalent: Germantown Municipal School District (85.6 percent), Williamson County Schools (81.2 percent), and Collierville Schools (80.8 percent).


— More than 1,200 additional graduates hit all four college ready benchmarks on the ACT test in 2018 compared to 2017.

— Within each subject area, 57.7 percent of public school students met the college ready benchmark in English, 31.6 percent met the benchmark in math, 41.8 percent met the benchmark in reading, and 32.2 percent met the science benchmark.

— 22 districts had 100 percent of students participate in taking the ACT.



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