Parish ACT scores down for third consecutive year

The Louisiana Department of Education’s annual release of ACT data in October showed that the average ACT score of a St. Charles Parish student is down for the third consecutive year.

Louisiana’s average ACT score also fell for the third consecutive year and is the lowest since 2013, officials said.

The Louisiana Class of 2020’s state-wide score is 18.7. The results are down from 18.9 last year and 19.3 the year before that.

A perfect score is 36.

The average ACT score for Destrehan High School’s class of 2020 was 18.4. Hahnville High School’s class of 2020 had an average score of 19.3.

In 2019 St. Charles Parish Public Schools students averaged a composite score of 19.9. In 2018 and 2017 the average composite of a SCPSS student was 20.2.

In 2013 the state began requiring that all high school seniors take the test, not just those who plan to attend college.

“Our Louisiana students are as talented as any across the country,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley said. “This continued decline in scores should trigger our thinking about flipping this trajectory.”

A press release from Louisiana’s Department of Education detailed that, state-wide, 52 percent of seniors in the Class of 2020 earned an 18 or better on the ACT.

“That’s compared to 54 percent in 2019 and 59 percent in 2018,” the release stated. “Students earning a 21 or better dropped to 32 percent. That number was 33 percent in 2019 and 36 percent in 2018.  A score of 18 is the performance level at which students admitted to college are generally not required to retake high school courses.”

St. Charles Parish Public Schools Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Erin Granier said all SCPPS students with a goal of attending a four-year university have access to ACT Online Prep, an individualized test prep program.

“Although we hold high expectations for all of our students, some students choose careers that do not require a four-year college education,” Granier said. “Therefore, their coursework is designed to prepare them for a specific career immediately following high school graduation. Students who have a goal to attend a four-year university take courses that focus on skills and knowledge that are assessed by the ACT.”

Granier said through the study of cohort ACT data trends and curriculum alignment with College and Career Readiness Standards, SCPSS employees continue to work towards deliberate strategies to improve students mastering College and Career Readiness Standards.

“The circumstances brought on by the current pandemic affects both academics and the social emotional wellness of students,” she said. “Our students were unable to complete comprehensive coursework as normal that prepares them for College and Career Readiness Standards, nor were they able to test, as anticipated, in the spring of 2020.”

Granier added a clear plan for integration of ACT skills and strategies has been developed and is being continually refined.

“ACT encourages educators to focus on trends, not year-to-year changes,” she said. “Such changes can represent normal – even expected – fluctuations. On the other hand, trend lines offer more insight into what is happening in a school, the district or the state.”

State Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed said while Louisiana is a good example of providing testing access to all students, the decline in ACT scores over time is clearly a call to action.

“While ACT scores are not mandated for college acceptance in Louisiana, this year’s scores are a clear charge to us to do better in preparing all students,” Reed said.


About Monique Roth 720 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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