The average composite scores among high school seniors taking the ACT college placement exam in South Carolina held steady in 2014, although they did drop slightly further behind the national average.
The average composite score of 20.4 (out of 36) remained unchanged from the 2012-2013 school year, according to data released by the South Carolina Department of Education on Wednesday. South Carolina’s public school students did increase their mean composite score by 0.1 points to 20.2.
However, South Carolina gave up ground to the nationwide average, which increased from 20.9 to 21.0.
The ACT standardized test is given to high school students to assess their college readiness. It’s scores are often considered by colleges in addition to results from the more popular SAT test. The ACT includes science questions, however, while the SAT does not. The composite score is the total average for a student’s performance in the English, Math, Reading, and Science sections.
The Education Department said more South Carolina students took the ACT in 2014 than ever before. There was a 12.7 percent increase in the number of public school students who took the test in 2014 from a year earlier. There was an 11.3 percent increase in the number of overall students who took the test in 2014.
“South Carolina students are to be commended for their performance on the 2014 ACT test,” State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said in a statement. “While South Carolina’s average ACT composite score was slightly under the national average, its proximity proves that we are making progress. These are positive results that we can build on for the future.”
The ACT tests students in four subject areas: . While composite statewide students’ scores for English and math showed no change from 2013, there was a 0.1 point increase in both reading and science for 2014.
The Governor’s Schools, as is usual, saw the highest composite scores with 27.8. York County School District 4 had the highest among traditional public schools at a 23.3 average. Allendale County School District and Bamberg County District 2 had the lowest scores with 14.4.