10.30 APS 2019 Graduates Achieve 19.1 Average Composite ACT Score, Slight Gain over 2018


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October 30, 2019


APS 2019 Graduates Achieve 19.1 Average Composite ACT Score, Slight Gain over 2018

Despite a decline in students taking the ACT in 2019, more college entrance exams than ever were taken in Atlanta Public Schools.

ATLANTA — According to figures released today by ACT, Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) 2019 graduates achieved an average composite ACT score of 19.1, a slight increase of 0.4 points from the 2018 average of 18.7 and the highest in recent history.

However, the percentage of 2019 APS graduates taking the ACT decreased compared to 2018, from 72% to 52%. ACT participation among 2019 graduates also declined at the state and national levels and the average composite scores were stable (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.  Average ACT score and participation – APS, Georgia, and nation

 Figure 1

“We are proud of these students achieving the highest ACT scores in recent APS history,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen. “While we saw a decline in ACT participation, we have actually seen a dramatic increase in the total number of college entrance exams taken. As we reported earlier this month, we engaged in a simple and targeted initiative with SAT School Day in 2018, which allowed all juniors to take the SAT exam at their home school during a normal school day, removing funding and transportation barriers for many students.”

The APS Class of 2019 was the first cohort to participate in SAT School Day, sponsored by Achieve Atlanta, which paid for all of the tests. As a result of this initiative, 90% of 2019 APS graduates took the SAT – nearly 900 students more than the class of 2018.  As expected with such a dramatic increase in participation, the average total SAT score for the class of 2019 decreased 53 points compared to 2018, from 997 to 944. For the first time since the redesigned SAT in 2016, more graduates took the SAT than the ACT.

As for test results, three APS schools exceeded the average ACT score for the nation (20.7):  Grady High School (23.1); North Atlanta High School (22.2); and Drew Charter (21.1); Grady and North Atlanta also exceeded the state average ACT score (21.4).  See Table 1.

Table 1.  2019 ACT results by school

 Figure 2

The ACT is a college entrance exam and has four subject area scores (English, mathematics, reading, and science) as well as a composite score.  All scores (subject and composite) range from one to 36. The SAT is a college entrance exam and has two subject area scores (evidence-based reading & writing and math) as well as a total score. Each subject is scored out of 800 points, and the total score is out of 1600 points.

For more information on APS college exam performance and other data, visit https://apsinsights.org

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About Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 52,000 students across 87 schools. The District is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 58 neighborhood schools, six partner schools, 18 charter schools, two citywide single-gender academies and three alternative programs. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AtlantaPublicSchools/ and on Twitter and Instagram @apsupdate.