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Local juniors score higher than statewide average on ACT

Local school districts had higher average composite ACT scores than the average for Mississippi, for juniors tested in 2020.

State level

The state average composite score was 17.7, with 28,394 kids across the state taking the test. It is a higher average than the previous year, which was 17.6 when 29,817 students took the test.

Seniors who graduated in 2020, had a statewide average of 17.9, compared to the national average of 20.6 for students for that same year.

The benchmark scores that indicate college readiness are 18 in English, 22 in math, 22 in reading and 23 in science.

Across the state, 10 percent of juniors met all four ACT benchmark scores and 39 percent met the English benchmark.

Local Schools

It is an unusual year for education, said Picayune Memorial High School Assistant Principal Toni Tucei. Although the school’s students did well on the test compared to the state average, their ACT scores may not have as much personal impact as in previous years.

With the pandemic, some colleges have temporarily waived requiring ACT scores as part of admissions requirements.

The scores also will not count toward accountability grades, because the Mississippi State Department of Education let school districts retain the previous score due to the pandemic.

But the scores will be used internally at Picayune Memorial to track progress, said Tucei.

In some parts of the state, the juniors in 2020 took their ACT tests in the spring as scheduled. The juniors at Picayune Memorial High School had to take their ACT tests in September, as seniors, instead of in spring 2020. The schools were closed due to COVID-19 immediately before testing was scheduled for high school students.

For 2020, the Picayune School District had an average composite score of 18.5. In 2019, that average score was 18.2. In 2020, the average in that district was 18.7 in English, 17.7 in math, 18.8 in reading and 18.4 in science.

For 2020, Pearl River County School District had an average composite score of 18.5. The average scores in that district were 17.9 in English, 17.8 in math, 19.2 in reading and 18.7 in science. For 2019, the district’s average composite score was 19.3.

In the Poplarville School District, the average composite score was 18.8. The average scores in the Poplarville School District were 18.6 in English, 17.9 in math, 19.3 in reading and 19.2 in science. The 2019 composite was 18.8.