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Forsyth County school system posts highest average ACT score in state

FORSYTH COUNTY — High schools in Forsyth County earned a higher combined average ACT composite score than any other school system in Georgia last year.

The increase from 23.6 in 2014 to 24.1 in 2015 also represents a higher score than the state and national averages, which were both at 21 for the college entrance assessment.

Earning the best average composite ACT score marks a first for the school district as far as officials know, according to Jennifer Caracciolo, spokeswoman for the system, though “we do consistently have higher results that the state and national averages.”

The average score was combined from the five public high schools and the iAchieve Virtual Academy, all of which also scored higher than state and national averages.

South Forsyth’s composite ACT score of 24.9, averaged from 405 test takers, was the 16th-best school score in the state.

Of 439 high schools in Georgia, the top average was a 28 (Gwinnett School of Mathematics Science and Technology), though most ranking above South were in the 25s.

Lambert ranked 17th in Georgia with its 504 test takers earning an average of 24.8.

West Forsyth’s average score of 23.6 (375 test takers) was the 31st-highest in Georgia, while five students earned an average of 23.2 at iAchieve Virtual Academy, representing 38th in the state.

Forsyth Central marked the state’s 44th-best score, with 177 test takers earning an average of 23.

North Forsyth recorded an average score of 22.7 from 250 test takers, making them the 46th-best score in Georgia.

The lowest score for a school in Georgia was 12.

“Increasing the number of our ACT test takers, as well as having higher results, is a great celebration for our staff and the 2015 graduates,” Forsyth School Superintendent Jeff Bearden said. “We strive to make learning personal for all students and are excited to see them doing well on this assessment.”

The 2015 ACT results put Georgia at the top of the pack among Southern states.

According to the Georgia Department of Education, the state’s average outperformed Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia, South Carolina and Texas.

The department also reported Georgia students scored higher, on average, than those in Colorado, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Hawaii, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.

Georgia’s score increased from 20.8 last year to become level with the national average and jump in ranking from 30th to 28th.

“These results are a testament to the hard work of our teachers,” Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I think we’ll continue to see gains as we realign our focus and implement child-focused, classroom-centered policies.”

Scores in English, reading and science increased, with Georgia’s average English score rising from 20.3 to 20.6, reading from 21.4 to 21.6, and science from 20.7 to 20.9. The average math score held steady throughout the state at 20.5.

Scores also increased among minority students in Georgia, with the average composite score rising from 19.9 to 20.1 for Hispanic/Latino students, from 17.6 to 17.8 for African American students, and 21 to 21.4 for students of two or more races.

Some of those minority students in Georgia also outperformed their peers nationally. Hispanic/Latino students recorded an average score of 20.1, compared to 18.9 nationally, while African American students earned an average of 17.8, compared to 17.1 nationally.

The number of high school students in Georgia taking the test increased by 7.8 percent compared to the year before, with a total of 54,653 students taking the ACT in 2015.

According to state, 91 percent of this year’s ACT-tested graduates aspired to go on to some type of post-secondary education.