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ACT scores for Mississippi juniors fell in 2018, continue to lag behind nation

LAGGING: The junior class of 2018 had their scores on the ACT test fall from 2017. Photo illustration by Steve Wilson

Mississippi juniors taking the ACT saw their scores dip slightly this year, according to data released by the Department of Education Thursday.

Average composite scores for Mississippi juniors who took the test in the spring of 2018 decreased from 18 in 2017 to 17.8 this year on a scale from one to 36. The number of districts with a composite score of 20 dipped from 14 districts last year to only eight this year.

Only 9 percent of Mississippi juniors that took the ACT test were able to meet or exceed standards for the four benchmarks (English, mathematics, reading and science). That's down from last year, when 10 percent of all juniors made or exceeded the standards.

Only 2,812 out of 31,254 juniors statewide that took the ACT test met or exceeded the standards for all four subject areas, which means they're capable of college-level work.

When broken down among subject areas, the numbers are even more startling. Only 38 percent of the state's 2018 junior class made or exceeded the grade for English, while 23 percent met the grade for reading. The STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field was even worse, as only 15 percent of the state's junior class met or exceeded the standards for science and 18 percent for mathematics.

The Legislature has appropriated more than $1 million since 2015 to pay for juniors and seniors statewide to take the test.

This year's class senior in Mississippi had a composite score of 18.6, which was the same average from last year and up slightly (18.4) from 2016, according to data released in October.

In the Jackson metro area, Jackson Public School District juniors that took the ACT had a composite average of 15.5, which was the same average as last year.

Pearl Public School District juniors had an average composite score of 18.8, down from 19 in 2017.

Madison County School District's junior class scored 20 on the composite after notching 20.4 in 2017.

In Rankin County, the junior class' composite score was down slightly from last year, with a 19.5 after scoring 19.6 in 2017.

Canton School District juniors had an average composite score of 15.4, which was a decrease from 2017, when the junior class averaged 15.6.

grades for Corinth and schools for the disabled

The Mississippi Board of Education voted on Thursday to release unofficial accountability grades for the state's schools that serve students with disabilities and the Corinth School District. None of these schools had received grades in the past few years.

The Corinth School District as a whole received a C grade. Corinth Elementary received a C, while the middle and high schools received a D and a F respectively. All of the state's schools that serve students with disabilities received an unofficial grades of F.

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