PICKENS COUNTY — South Carolina has released the results of mandatory ACT testing for 11th grade students, showing School District of Pickens County students outperforming state averages in each tested area.
SDPC students earned an average composite score of 18.7, higher than the state average of 17.9. They earned composite scores of 17.4 in English, 18.7 in Math, 19.2 in Reading, and 18.9 in Science. By comparison, students across the state averaged 16.5 in English, 18.1 in Math, 18.3 in Reading, and 18.1 in Science.
Last year, South Carolina became one of a small number of states to require ACT testing for all high school juniors. The vast majority of students who take the ACT are traditionally students planning to apply for college admission. In 2015, South Carolina began testing all 11th grade students, regardless of whether they were planning to go to college or not.
“The opportunity to take the ACT for free is a huge advantage for students in our state,” said Dr. Danny Merck, SDPC superintendent. “Not only does this save families money, it also gives students who may not have been planning to attend college a chance to see that they do have what it takes to be successful. The Class of 2016 will graduate with a diploma, a WorkKeys score, and an ACT score. For the first time in public education in South Carolina, we have assessments that are relevant for college and career readiness.”
Scores on the ACT WorkKeys, a career-readiness test, showed SDPC ranking eighth in the state for students scoring Silver and above.
The composite score for the 2015 SDPC graduating class, for whom the test was optional, was 22.4—higher than the national average of 21.
“Universal ACT testing is uncharted territory, so we weren’t sure what we would see on this first set of scores,” said Sharon Huff, SDPC’s assistant superintendent of Instructional Services. “The fact that our students are above state averages in every area is encouraging, and that is what we expect to see from our students. Now our goal is to go from here and improve.”
She added that students who aren’t pleased with their individual results can retake the test and use their highest score for college admissions. The district does not cover the cost of retaking the test.