By Erica Thomas, managing editor
MONTGOMERY — A new report by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), shows average ACT scores in Alabama public high schools were down for the Class of 2020, including Hewitt-Trussville High School (HTHS).
For the Class of 2020, PARCA’s analysis showed Trussville City Schools’ system average score ranked eighth in the state. Out of individual schools, Hewitt-Trussville High School ranked 16th in the state and 8th in the metro Birmingham area.
From 2019 to 2020, the composite score declined from 18.9 to 18.6. The average scores for individual subjects, English, Reading, Math and Science, also declined.
The research breaks down the scores by each school. For HTHS, PARCA shows the average composite scores were much higher than the statewide average. In 2019, the score was 22.17. In 2020, there was a whole point decrease to 21.7.
The steepest drops by subject for HTHS were in Science, English and Reading. In 2019, the average Science score for the school was 23.1. In 2020, that score dropped to 21.9. For English, the 2019 average was 23.7 and in 2020 it dropped to 22.1. The average Reading score in 2019 was 23.9. In 2020, it was 22.5. The Math score for the school dropped one point from 2019 to 2020, going from a 21.8 to a 20.8.
When asked about the drop in the composite score, TCS Public Relations Supervisor Jason Gaston said the ACT scores he received from the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) were different because they used a different formula to get composites. TCS only uses results from the Spring semester of a student’s junior year while PARCA uses results from the entire junior year of each student.
Gaston said HTHS’s composite ACT Scores with that formula were 21.1 in 2019 and 21.9 in 2020.
Despite the conflicting information, there is a plan, according to Gaston, to better prepare students for the ACT in the future. The plan was developed in conjunction with school and district administrators. It was implemented in Fall 2019. The HTHS ACT Data Team took the following action steps:
- English, Math, Science 10th and 11th-grade teachers reviewed general and subject-specific test-taking tips/strategies with students
- Administration of the PreACT (Sophomores) and Mock ACT (Juniors)
- Detailed reviews/analysis of ACT Profile Reports
- Meeting with College Prep AL representatives to review data and construct ACT professional development for teachers
- We partner with an outside vendor to provide ACT Prep training for all core teachers, ACT Practice test including data reports, teacher strategy videos, individual student blended learning licenses that correlate to the practice test questions, skills tested, etc.
- Conducted an ACT Boot Camp for students
- Student recognitions for ACT scores (30 and up wall of fame, recognition at football game, graduation cord specifically added to include high ACT scores, etc.)
Gaston said the school system expects the HTHS ACT scores to improve each year. He did say that COVID-19 may impact some of that progress.
“Some of the above action steps could not be implemented this past school year due to hybrid and virtual schedules for some students,” said Gaston. “Our teachers did great work on executing the ACT action steps, and we will continue to implement these successful strategies as we enter the upcoming school year.”