North Carolina released its ACT scores for 2013’s graduating class.
Yadkin County and the state as a whole saw results lower than the previous year. However, this data is the first set following a mandatory testing of all juniors.
The ACT, which has widely replaced the SAT as the preferred college entrance exam, tests students on reading, math, English, science, and has a optional writing portion.
The SAT does not have the science portion, making colleges look at the ACT as a better indicator of a student’s overall education.
The ACT is scored on a point system different than the SAT. Instead of looking for a number in the thousands, test takers are looking to score between one and 36, 36 being the highest.
Both Yadkin County and North Carolina saw drops in their average scores between 2012 and 2013.
Yadkin students averaged 16.2 points in English in 2013. North Carolina averaged 17.1 points.
In 2012 Yadkin had averaged 18.6. North Carolina had averaged 21.
Yadkin averaged 19 in mathematics. North Carolina averaged 19.6.
In 2012 Yadkin had averaged 21.6. North Carolina had averaged 22.3.
Yadkin averaged 18 in reading. North Carolina averaged 18.8.
In 2012 Yadkin had averaged 21.2. North Carolina had averaged 22.2.
Yadkin averaged 18.6 in science. North Carolina averaged 18.7.
In 2012 Yadkin had averaged 20.7. North Carolina had averaged 21.4.
Yadkin averaged 18.1 in composite. North Carolina averaged 18.7.
In 2012 Yadkin had averaged 20.6. North Carolina had averaged 21.9.
“Well, it’s not good and it’s not bad in my opinion,” Yadkin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Hobbs said of the results.
Dr. Hobbs pointed out that readers need to take in account the added number of students taking the test.
According to the score sheet given from the state to Yadkin County only 30 students took the test in 2012 - 18,817 students across the whole state.
That number jumped to 393 Yadkin students in 2013, part of the overall 95,782 students across the state.
“Do we have a lot of work to do? Yes. But we went from testing 30 kids in 2012 to testing all of our juniors in 2013, which was 393,” Dr. Hobbs said. “Any time you make that kind of jump and you’re testing every kid the numbers are going to play with it.”
Prior to 2012, only the students who elected to take the ACT were administered the test.
The state then began mandatory testing for all juniors. The graduating class of 2013 was the first class affected by the decision, taking their tests in the spring of 2012.
The state’s data is one year behind. Since that time another junior class has taken the exam, but their results have nor been analyzed or released yet.
Students who previously chose to take the ACT had two reasons: 1) they were preparing for college, and 2), they were confident their performance would be.
Starting with the mandatory test-taking North Carolina began footing the bill for all of its junior students to take the exam.
Before that each student was required to pay for his or her own test, something that a student would not likely do to goof off or not try to succeed at.
Now every student regardless of their goals or academic achievement takes the test. Each student averages in their performance to the whole school system, whether they goofed off or tried at all.
Dr. Hobbs put forward a question to the state concerning the ACT and when the mandatory test-taking is administered.
“My thing with the ACT is, why don’t we let our seniors take it? Why are we testing our juniors?” Dr. Hobbs said.
The test is given to gauge a student’s understanding of high school material prior to college entry but is given when only three-fourths of the student’s classes have been completed.
Still, Dr. Hobbs said Yadkin students should be proud of the numbers they put up against the state.
“I always try to look for a positive in any negative, and what we did in Yadkin County Schools, yes, our scores dropped … however, we — pretty much in every single category — closed a gap between Yadkin County Schools and the state average,” Dr. Hobbs said.
In fact, Yadkin closed the gap in every category.
In 2013 the gap between the state and Yadkin in English was .9 points, down from 2.4 points in 2012.
In 2013 the gap between the state and Yadkin in mathematics was .6 points, down from .7 in 2012.
In 2013 the gap between the state and Yadkin in reading was .8 points, down from 1 point in 2012.
In 2013 the gap between the state and Yadkin in science was .1 points, down from .7 in 2012.
In 2013 the gap between the state and Yadkin in composite was .6 points, down from 1 in 2012.
“I look at that as a positive,” Dr. Hobbs said. “We tested 363 more kids. Yes we’re not at the state average, but we are closing that gap as far as the state average goes.”
To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-513 ext. 15, or email him at tpardue @civitasmedia.com.