By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Trousdale County Schools saw its average on the ACT drop below a 20 for the first time in four years in results released by the state last week.

The Class of 2018 finished with an average score of 19.7, finishing 0.5 below the state average of 20.2.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said that while the dip in average was disappointing, it still displayed improvement by that class from where students began.

“Although lower than the state, average we still see the Class of 2018 as a success as evidenced from where their scores improved from their 10th-grade Pre-ACT. We anticipated a challenge with that particular class, but we know they made improvement. They just started a little lower than some of the other classes.”

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Trousdale County has started an ACT preparation class beginning this school year to guide students toward success on the college preparatory exam. Satterfield also noted that over 60 current seniors participated in the free ACT retake provided by the state last week.

“We are most confident that our new ACT preparation class will help more students in the future,” Satterfield said. “We encourage our kids to take as many opportunities to take the test and improve as they can.”

Trousdale County had an ACT average of 20.8 in 2017, 20.2 in 2016 and a 20.8 in 2015.

English and Reading were the two sub-categories in which Trousdale students had the most difficulty. Local students had respective average of 19.1 and 19.8 in those subjects, while the state averages were 19.7 and 20.7.

In Math and Science, local scores were much closer to the state average, with Trousdale compiling a 19.4 and 20.1 respectively compared to 19.5 and 20.3 statewide.

“We knew where the weakness were,” Satterfield said. “We still feel like they made good progress.”

Tennessee public school students broke the previous year’s record by earning an average composite score of 20.2 on the ACT in 2018. Tennessee public high school graduates improved from the 2017 average of 20.1, with more than 2,000 additional students taking the exam this year, bringing the state’s participation rate up to 97 percent – also a new record high. The results also show that 1,463 more Tennessee public school graduates became eligible for the HOPE scholarship by earning composite scores of 21 or higher.

“The ACT provides an opportunity for our students to show they are college and career ready, and seeing a higher average score at the same time more students are taking the test is a true testament to the work that is happening in Tennessee schools,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “Our schools are increasingly moving toward deeper teaching and learning that meets our higher expectations, and that focus pays off on tests like the ACT and SAT.”

Germantown Municipal School District had the highest district ACT composite in the state for the third year in a row, posting a 25.9 average. Additionally, Moore County Schools posted the largest gains in the state, raising its average composite by 1.7 points to 20.6.

Additional takeaways from the 2018 ACT results:

More than 1,200 additional graduates hit all four college ready benchmarks on the ACT test in 2018 compared to 2017;

Within each subject area, 57.7 percent of public school students met the college ready benchmark in English, 31.6 percent met the benchmark in math, 41.8 percent met the benchmark in reading, and 32.2 percent met the science benchmark;

22 districts had 100 percent of students participate in taking the ACT.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com. Contributing: Staff reports