Rockdale County Public School students overall scored slightly below the national average on the ACT test last year, but subgroups, such as black, white and Hispanic students, scored higher than the national average.
The average score for RCPS students overall was 20.5, compared to 20.7 in the state and 21 nation-wide. The RCPS overall average score was slightly higher this year than last year's score of 20.2.
By subcategories, black students scored an average of 18.5 in Rockdale, which was above 17.4 in the state and 16.9 nationally. Hispanic students scored an average of 20.3, which was above 20.1 in Georgia and 18.6 nationally. White students scored 23.3 in Rockdale, above the 22.9 average in the state and 22.3 average in the nation. Asian students scored an average of 22.9 in Rockdale, 23.6 in the state, and 23.4 nationally. Students classified as "other" scored an average of 21.2 in Rockdale, 20.9 in the state, and 20.6 nationally.
Out of the 532 RCPS students that took the ACT in 2009-2010, black students made up the largest portion (286, or 54 percent). Nationally, about 14 percent of the ACT test takers were black. The rest of the RCPS test takers were about 33 percent white (174), 3 percent Asian (14) and 2 percent Hispanic (13).
The ACT is a multiple choice curriculum-based test used as a college entrance exam.
Superintendent Dr. Samuel King reported at Thursday night's Board of Education meeting that the number of ACT test takers increased slightly from 526 in 2008-2009 to 532 in 2009-2010.
"When we see those numbers start to increase in terms of test takers, I consider that a good thing. Some superintendents do not... That means students are planning," said King. "The next step is having students ready." He pointed out some of the students have never taken advanced courses before.
"Part of our strategic plan is to see all students exposed and ready to take advanced placement coursework."
School board member Darlene Hotchkiss pointed out that unlike some school systems which are more selective in the students that are prompted to take the ACT or SAT tests, RCPS encourages all students to take the ACT or SAT. "We're testing a higher percentage of them and doing well," she said.
"We're a ways from what we want," added King.