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NCSS announces 2017 ACT scores

Newton County School System (NCSS) maintained its average score on the ACT mathematics and science test in 2017 but dipped slightly in English and reading. As a result, the school district’s composite score dropped two-tenths of one point, going from 18.8 to 18.6 in 2017.

Unlike the SAT, a reasoning test that measures critical thinking skills and assesses how well a student analyzes and solves problems, the ACT is a series of curriculum-based, multiple choice tests that cover content knowledge in four basic skill areas: English (College English Composition), Math (College Algebra), Reading (College Social Science) and Science (College Biology). Students also receive a composite score on the exam, which is scored on a scale from 0 to 36. The ACT also has an optional writing test.

Through collaborative research with postsecondary institutions nationwide, the ACT has established college readiness benchmark scores for designated courses—the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing courses, which include English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology. The College Readiness Benchmark Scores are:

  • English Composition                       18 on the ACT  English Test
  • College Algebra                                 22 on the ACT Mathematics Test
  • Social Science                                    22 on the ACT Reading Test
  • Biology                                                 23 on the ACT Science Test

2017 school level data

According to the official ACT report, Alcovy High School posted an increase of three-tenths of one point on the science test, going from 18.3 to 18.6 in 2017. The school’s English score did drop by four tenths of one point and math and reading each dropped by two-tenths of one point in 2017. Alcovy’s composite score dropped by just one tenth of one point, going from 18.1 to 18.0 in 2017.  

Eastside High School bested the nation in science but saw a small decrease in average scores in all subjects and the composite in 2017.  The school’s English score dropped by six-tenths of one point, going from 20.4 to 19.6 in 2017. Eastside’s reading, science, and composite scores each dropped by four tenths of one point while the math dropped just one tenth of one point in 2017, going from 19.8 to 19.7. 

Newton High School increased its score in math in 2017, going from 17.1 to 17.3, and maintained its 18.2 score in science. The school did see a decline in English of eight-tenths of one point and a four tenth of one point dip in reading, which resulted in the composite score dropping from 18.0 to 17.8 in 2017.

“I am proud of the commitment and dedication of our teachers, students, and leaders,” said Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of Newton County School System. “While our results are not yet where we wish for them to be, we continue to strive for improved outcomes. We are unpacking our results to identify areas where we might make curricular and instructional adjustments to strengthen our students’ academic experiences.  These results, coupled with the PSAT, SAT, and IOWA results, help us to plan strategically as early as kindergarten.”

For more information contact on Newton County School System’s 2017 ACT results, contact Dr. Allison Jordan, Director of Testing, Research, and Evaluation at