City schools score below ACT average

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 19, 2004

Alabama’s college-bound students scored slightly higher on the ACT admission and placement exam this year than other southeastern states, but still continue to lag behind the national average.

ACT results released Monday show Alabama students averaging a score of 20.2, a one point increase from 2003. The southeastern average was 20.1, while the national average was 20.9.

The highest possible score on the ACT is 36.

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Selma City Schools’ overall ACT average fell below the state score, but saw an increase in the number of students who took the exam.

Superintendent Dr. James Carter said the overall average of city school students was around 17.9.

“This is not nearly where we want it to be,” Carter said. “Though we didn’t do well, we have already begun offering students a number of programs to help increase their scores. We have ACT preparation classes and an awareness program.”

Carter said the school system had more students take the ACT this year than other school districts in the area and believes scores will improve during this new school year.

According to the ACT results, the composite scores for black students nationwide were 17.1.

White students scored a national average of 21.8.

Though the ACT shows a slight improvement for Alabama students, it also serves as proof that more work needs to be done in order to prepare students for college.

The average math score across the state was 19.5, while the national composite was 20.7.

Alabama students earned an average 20.1 in science, compared to the national average of 20.9.

Ella Bell, Alabama Board of Education member representing District 5, which covers Dallas County, says even the smallest strides towards improvement are always good.

“I’m concerned about the 30 percent achievement gap between our black and white students,” Bell said. “I will be looking for a dramatic improvement next year.”

The ACT exam is the predominate college entrance exam and is administered in all 50 states.

The test covers English, math, science, reading, and this year will be introducing writing.

National and state ACT results can be found at