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FHS scores above average on ACT

Farragut High School’s American College Test scores are more than four percentage points higher than the percentage of Tennessee test-takers as a whole and more than three percentage points higher than the national average.

Farragut High School principal Michael Reynolds said, “Our composite score increased to an average of 24.5 and that was up from a score of 24.1 from a year ago.”

The national ACT average is 21.1, while the state of Tennessee comes in below average at 20.7.

“We are pleased but not satisfied,” Reynolds said. “We know we can always do better and push the kids to do better, but we are certainly pleased with the gains our students have made.”

In February FHS student Maryli Cheng was one of two Tennessee and one of 56 national students out of more than 300,000 taking the ACT that month to score a perfect 36. According to ACT, Inc. the likelihood of a student receiving a perfect score is one in 3,300 students.

According to reports from ACT, Inc., Tennessee joins Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. in the below average range.

Maine, New Jersey and Vermont tie for the highest average at 22.7.

The results are compiled from students who took the test during their sophomore, junior or senior year and graduated from high school spring 2008.

Margaret Spellings, U.S. secretary of education, said of the 2008 results, “A-C-T scores for the Class of 2008 have remained largely steady, which is encouraging given that the number of test-takers has expanded rapidly to include many more students than ever before. We know that added rigor and accountability in our high schools will raise these scores even higher and better prepare students for college and the workforce.

“While the percentage of students meeting A-C-T College Readiness Benchmarks remained steady in math, reading and science, it dropped in English. This is unacceptable when 90 percent of the fastest growing jobs require at least some post-secondary education.

“In today’s competitive global economy, it is imperative for us to continue to call on states to better align their standards with college and workforce expectations, increase access to rigorous coursework and report a more accurate high school graduation rate so America’s students can be armed with the critical skills they need to succeed in college and throughout their lives,” she added.

Reynolds said he believes FHS’ success is the result of a concentrated effort by both students and FHS staff.

“What we are really trying to do is make our students as competitive as they possibly can be with anybody in our county or in our state … in our country or, now, even halfway across the world they are competing with students. Rather than concentrate on what anyone else is doing, we concentrate on how well we can improve our students and their skill set to be competitive in a worldwide market,” Reynolds added.

“We talk about that at the beginning of school … it being a collective focus. We all have a part in the A-C-T scores and in the national scores.”

ACT is not the only nationally given test on which FHS students excelled.

“We just got our [Scholastic Aptitude Test] scores in. We were pleased with that too. Our S-A-T scores went up 20 or more points in each of the areas. The average S-A-T [score] was 1802. The state average is 1700 and the national average is 1511,” Reynolds said.

“Of course the gauge in Tennessee is A-C-T but in different regions S-A-T is taken more than A-C-T.”


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