ACT test results for 2020-2021 released; three Jackson County schools among most improved

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 10:38 PM CST
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ST. MARTIN, Miss. (WLOX) - Students in Jackson County School District are steadily improving, according to ACT test scores from last year.

The Mississippi Department of Education recently released the 2020-2021 ACT results for the 11th grade state assessment and make-up assessment for the Class of 2021 who missed their testing date due to school closures in the spring of 2020.

Several districts in South Mississippi have seen a jump in scores of the last few years but few have made improvements like Jackson County School District. Each of the district’s three high schools saw an increase in students’ composite average on the ACT. The district jumped to third-best on the Gulf Coast and fifth in the state overall.

The ACT test scores are now out and school districts are able to see where they rank both on...
The ACT test scores are now out and school districts are able to see where they rank both on the Coast and in the state. Jackson County is among the districts that has improved the most. Right now, the Coast is testing well compared to the rest of the state.(Jackson County School District)

”Every class for bell work, we have an ACT question, and then your junior year you actually take a college and career readiness class. It offers ACT prep throughout the week,” said St. Martin senior Sophie Whitehead.

Last year, Jackson County School District implemented a new, district-wide initiative to boost ACT scores. The goal of the initiative is to improve the 11th grade ACT composite scores at least 1.5 points incrementally by 0.5 points each year to achieve top coastal/state ACT ranking by 2023. The goal is also to incrementally increase the number of seniors with an ACT composite score over 27 to double current numbers by 2023. So far, the initiative has shown to be effective.

When Dr. John Strycker took the superintendent position, the school board wanted to improve ACT test results.

”We need to put money towards that and the board supported me, and so we’re putting almost $400,000 into ACT preparation,” said Strycker.

The district has hired ACT specialists and tutors to help students learn different test-taking strategies and increase their scores. It’s an investment that he believes will only better Jackson County, and that the positive results are something everyone should be proud of.

”It’s our community. We have taxpayers, they pay literally millions of dollars into school. So even if they don’t have students in school, it is the return on their investment, in millions of dollars of tax dollars. It’s an outcome. It’s a scoreboard,” Strycker said.

It’s a scoreboard that in his eyes indicates success, but none are happier than the students who can now take advantage of greater scholarship opportunities due to their higher test scores.

”I got the email during my first block and I actually went to my ACT tutor’s classroom to open it with her. When I opened it I was so excited. Went to tell Mrs. Holland, went to call my mom! It was very exciting,” said Sophie Whitehead

Due to her increased ACT score, Sophie, like so many others in the JCSD, will be eligible for thousands more in scholarship opportunities.

While the Coast is well ahead of the state average, we still lag behind the national average composite score of 20.3, with only Pass Christian, East Central and Ocean Springs high schools scoring that or better.

Find your child’s high school below to see how it did, or click here to see the statewide results.

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