Ascension ACT scores above state average

Michael Tortorich

Ascension Parish students scored above the Louisiana average in a test of college readiness.

Ascension students averaged 20.3 on the ACT in 2009, according to the state Department of Education.

The state average is 20.1, while the national average is 21.1

The maximum score for the ACT is 36.

ACT results are used by colleges for admissions, scholarships and placement in some classes.

The ACT measures understanding of English, math, reading and science.

The assessment tool is administered to students in all 50 states.

The ACT may be taken by students in their sophomore, junior or senior years.

Nearly 36,000 public and private high school graduates in the state took the test earlier this year.

Ascension students have averaged at least 20.2 over the last five years. This year’s 20.3 represented a drop from 2008’s 20.7.

Education officials said there has been an upward trend in students taking the ACT and enrolling in college preparation courses.

State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek said he anticipates college readiness benchmarks like the ACT to result in higher scores.

ACT officials said the increase in students taking the test over the years may explain the drop in composite scores.

“Generally, when the testing population expands so dramatically, it’s not unusual for scores to go down, because it it likely that a more academically diverse group of students is being tested,” said Ed Colby, an ACT spokesperson.

Louisiana ranked 43rd nationally in ACT average.

The top school district was St. Tammany, which averaged a 21.6.

Rounding out the top five districts were West Feliciana, Lafayette, St. Charles and Ouachita.

Ascension averaged the same score as neighboring Livingston, as did Zachary.

St. James Parish showed one of the biggest gains in composite score with a 0.9 increase.