Due to an increase in preparation, the bar for ACT scores in the school has been raised. (Ianne Salvosa)
Due to an increase in preparation, the bar for ACT scores in the school has been raised.

Ianne Salvosa

A Tough ACT To Follow

The average ACT for Liberty students has steadily increased since 2017

November 6, 2019

Inarguably, one of the most daunting parts of preparing for college is taking the ACT. Three hours of testing, four with the writing portion, can greatly impact the probability of getting accepted into a particular college. But luckily enough, the average ACT score for the school’s graduates does not look so scary itself. 

In 2017, the average composite score was 21.1, rising to 21.7 in 2018, and recently jumping to 22.4 in 2019.

The big question in mind is how did this happen? In addition to the increase, Liberty’s ACT score is 1.6 points above the state average of 20.8.

“I think we’re doing a lot of really good things in the classroom,” college and career counselor Mrs. Gerringer said. “We have students that are committed to academic achievement and have high goals for themselves.” 

The ACT has created a “benchmark score” for each portion of the test that indicates that a student has a 75% chance of receiving a C in corresponding college class. For each college class, English Composition, Algebra, Social Science, and Biology, Liberty students showed a higher readiness for college classes than the state average. Meaning, students had scored at least an 18 on the English portion, a 22 on the Math portion, a 22 on reading, and a 23 on the science portion.

Many dedicated students reach out and get tutoring or extra help to improve their score. Fortunately, a variety of resources are at a student’s hands, a special facet of the school. On Wednesdays, English teacher Mrs. Tarrant-Oliphant (T-O) offers free tutoring for the English and reading portion of the exam.

“I think that a lot of teachers emphasize all kinds of strategies within their classroom that help kids read and deconstruct a text in a more effective manner,” Mrs. T-O said. “I’ll work with students on practice tests and specific things with grammar and punctuation.”

It’s no question that Liberty students have the potential to raise the average score for the ACT each year. But on the other hand, how to do so is what’s needed to be asked. ACT Prep teacher Mr. Jarrett stresses the importance of learning from prior mistakes.

“I encourage them to fail so then we know what you don’t know and we can practice your weakness and make it your strength,” Mr. Jarrett said. 

But on that note, when it comes to failure, students shouldn’t be discouraged if they receive a score they aren’t too proud of.

“For some kids it works really well and it’s to their advantage but for other kids there’s a huge disparity between how they test and how they’ve done in school,” Mrs. T-O said.

In addition to analyzing former tests and incorrect answers, it is imperative to truly comprehend the test material in order to succeed in the exam. Courses such as ACT Prep or reviewing before taking the test can only help academic performance.

“Memorizing stuff is not learning, that’s how I look at it,” Mr. Jarrett said. “Most of the kids that I have in here that have taken it before and then had retaken it do anywhere between 3-6 points composite higher.” 

While the increase in ACT scores over the years is a highly commendable feat to the school, the pride should not lie in the numbers. The scores not only reflect the academic achievement of students, but a hunger and drive for success in the future. 

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