According to data released by the Mississippi Department of Education, a slightly larger number of high school juniors met the minimal standards for college readiness than the year before.
Only 10 percent of the juniors who took the ACT test met all four benchmarks (English, mathematics, reading and science) that are measured by the ACT test and which is a good indicator of the readiness to take on college-level work. That’s a one percent improvement from 2019’s scores.
Also improving were the average score for math (17.5 in 2020, up from 17.4 in 2019), reading (17.9 in 2020, up from 17.8 in 2019), science (18.2 in 2020, up from 17.9 in 2019). The English score remained the same as the year before at 16.8.
Those are still below the benchmarks that indicate a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher or a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher in college courses for these subject areas such as English composition, college algebra, social science and biology. The benchmark scores are:
- English 18
- Mathematics 22
- Reading 22
- Biology 23
Only 16.5 percent of Mississippi juniors met the benchmark for math, up from 15 percent in 2019, while 25.5 percent met the standard in reading, a sizeable increase from the 24 percent in 2019.
As for science, 18.3 percent of juniors met the standard, up slightly from 18 percent in 2019. The percentage of juniors meeting the English standard was the same from 2019 at 39 percent.
Mississippi is one of 15 states that administers the ACT to all of its high school graduates.
As for Jackson metro area school districts, average composite scores decreased from 2019 for Madison County Schools (down slightly from 20 to 19.9), Clinton (decreased to 19.2 from 19.7 in 2019) and Rankin County (down slightly to 19.1 from 19.2 in 2019).
The Jackson Public School District had a slight increase to 15.1 in 2020 from 15 in 2019, while the Pearl School District’s composite scores increased from 18.2 in 2019 to 18.6 in 2020.
Hinds County (16.5 average composite score) and Canton (15.1) remained constant from their 2019 scores.
Oxford had the highest composite scores statewide (21.1) in 2020, followed by the Booneville and Pass Christian school districts (which tied with 20.4). Biloxi was next with composite scores of 20.3, while Gulfport and Jackson County each scored 20.1.