S.C. ACT Test Scores Decline Slightly

South Carolina’s performance on the ACT college entrance test dropped this year to an average score of 19.8, which ranks 46th in the nation. In 2008, the state’s average score was one-tenth of a point higher at 19.9. Possible scores on the test range from 11 to 36 points.

ACT TestAccording to the state’s ACT profile released this week by ACT Inc., South Carolina’s average score is 1.3 points behind the national average and 4.1 points behind the highest-performing state (Massachusetts).

South Carolina ranked behind most other Southeastern states, including North Carolina ( 21.6), Georgia (20.6), and Tennessee (20.6). Only Mississippi, Kentucky and Florida scored lower on the ACT among Southeastern states.

The achievement gap between black and white students also continued to expand. Composite scores for white students have increased from 21.3 to 21.9 since 2005. During that same period the performance of African American students has declined by one-tenth of a point from 16.5 to 16.4. This year alone, African-American scores remained flat while the average score of white test-takers improved from 21.7 to 21.9.

The results show public education in the state continues to leave many of the state’s poorest and most vulnerable students behind in failing schools. Choice and free-market competition would encourage innovative ideas in the classroom as well as reward ideas that improve performance and results.

South Carolina will spend more than $11,000 per child during the 2009-2010 year. Many failing schools already spend more than $15,000 per child.

Nothing in the foregoing should be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder passage of any legislation. Copyright 2009. South Carolina Policy Council Education Foundation, 1323 Pendleton Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201. Visit the Policy Council Facebook page at www.facebook.com/scpolicycouncil or Twitter at www.twitter.com/scpolicycouncil.

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