NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Georgia’s students show steady improvement on the ACT, with increasing scores and participation rates on the 2017 test, along with higher number of students deemed ready to meet the demands of college courses.
The state average on the annual test for college acceptance was 21.4, the second consecutive year of increased scores, and slightly higher than the national average of 21. A perfect score on the ACT is 36.
Locally, students in North Fulton high schools posted among the highest scores in the state, led by Northview High with an average of 27.6. Northview was followed by strong performances from students at Johns Creek (26.6) and Chattahoochee (26.3).
As a system, Fulton County Schools raised its average to 23.8, an increase from 23.2 on the 2016 test, with higher participation rates as well. Known primarily as an SAT-preferred state – the other standard test for college admission – Georgia students are gravitating toward the ACT in rising numbers.
“Fulton has seen a 15 percent increase in the number of test-takers in the past five years,” said Susan Hale, Fulton Schools’ spokesperson. “In 2017, more than 57 percent of 2017 graduates took the ACT [compared] to 60 percent nationally.”
Last year, about 5,000 Fulton students took the SAT, compared to more than 3,700 who took the ACT.
Similar to the SAT, the ACT is a test commonly used for college admission and placement. It measures English, math, reading and science proficiency, with an optional writing section. The SAT measures only math, reading and writing, with an optional essay section.
Among states testing at least half of their 2017 graduates on the ACT, Georgia posted the 7th highest state average. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of students taking the ACT in Georgia has grown to 55 percent of all graduates.
“Georgia students continue to increase their scores – and outpace the nation – on the ACT,” said State School Superintendent Richard Woods. “This is a testament to the hard work of Georgia’s students as they enjoy greater flexibility and fewer state restrictions in the classroom.”
In recent years, Georgia has slowly moved away from state control of education, allowing local systems greater flexibility over curriculum and testing. In 2012, the Fulton School System became the state’s largest charter system.
Woods noted results of the 2017 ACT also showed an increase in performance in all subject areas – English, Math, Reading and Science – as well as the Readiness Benchmarks. Hitting the benchmark scores indicates the student has a 50 percent chance of obtaining at least a B in that subject area in college.
In Fulton, a record-high 44 percent of students taking the 2017 ACT met the College Readiness Benchmarks in all four subject areas. Among the eight North Fulton high schools that number was 56 percent of all test takers.