The 2017 average ACT composite score for Floyd County Schools is 21.1, reflecting the first time the school system’s score has exceeded the national average, based upon records available since 2010. (Floyd County Schools chart)

Floyd County Schools hit a testing milestone last school year by earning an average ACT composite score that exceeded the national average for the first time, based upon available records, since 2010.

The system’s score was 21.1 for the 2017 graduating class, which had 300 students take the college readiness assessment that tests on the subjects of English, mathematics, reading and science. This score is 0.10 points higher than the national 2017 average ACT composite score of 21. Also, the system’s 21.1 score is 0.80 points above last year’s score of 20.3.

“We’re pretty pumped about it,” said John Jackson, the FCS superintendent, following the release of the scores last week.

Jackson said that generally speaking, higher ACT scores contribute to students getting into better schools, making them more competitive for college admissions and scholarship applications.

The robust Advanced Placement program the system offers is a major factor that Jackson feels contributed to the improvement. Students taking AP courses, which have more rigorous and challenging curriculum, is central to them performing well on the ACT, he continued.

The system currently offers 18 AP courses, after adding an AP seminar. This class is a companion course to AP research and calls on students to work on projects both individually and in groups, focusing on problem solving and collaboration.

The 2017 score is highest the system’s students have received over a five-year span, which has seen at least 282 or more students take the test each year, peaking at 334 in 2016. It is something the system needs to celebrate, said Jackson, as this year’s seniors may not beat the national average.

Each Floyd County high school saw growth in their scores, as well, with two individually beating the national average. Armuchee High seniors taking the test scored 22.2, which is 1.2 points above the national average, and Pepperell High seniors scored 21.3, which is 0.30 points higher than the average for students nationwide. Pepperell High seniors also scored 1.8 points higher than the seniors before them.

Though last year’s seniors at Coosa and Model high schools didn’t score above the national average, they still showed improvement from the year before. Coosa High had a score of 20, which is 0.80 higher than last year, and Model had a score of 20.6, which is 0.10 points higher than last year.

However, the average ACT composite scores for the system since 2013 haven’t matched or exceeded the state scores. But, the system closed the gap with the state in 2017, narrowing the deficit between them and the state to 0.30 from 0.80, which was the difference in 2016.