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Washington County schools celebrate soaring ACT scores

Jessica Fuller • Updated May 2, 2017 at 10:43 PM

High-performing Washington County students will have their photos on display as high as their ACT scores soon on billboards across the county. 

Foster Signs has donated several billboards to display the surging achievements of county high school students who scored 21 or higher on their ACT exams.

Hundreds of those students gathered on the football field at Jonesborough Middle School Tuesday morning for a group photo. While more than 600 students across the county met the requirements for the occasion, Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton noted more than 200 were absent due to more testing or class trips.

And of the 660 students with ACT scores above 21, 34 scored above a 30.

The composite ACT score, or the “overall” score, helps determine students’ readiness for college, and the exam tests students on reading, science and English. Composite scores range from 1 to 36, and colleges use those scores as a benchmark for admitting students. Higher scores mean more opportunity for scholarships and more options for students in their higher education choices.

“What it means for students is they can pretty much write their ticket for wherever they want to go to school if they have the GPA to match it,” Halliburton said. “It really means more college opportunities for these students so they can be more selective in where they want to go to school.”

A show of hands revealed about an even split in juniors and seniors with a handful of sophomores in the group. Halliburton congratulated them and urged the underclassmen to challenge their scores and retake the test for higher marks to open more opportunities for themselves.

Washington County’s average is on the climb, too — Halliburton said the average ACT composite school in the county has been on the rise the past couple of years. She said she did her best to squeeze the event in between Principal Appreciation Day, which was Monday, and Teacher Appreciation Week to thank the school leadership that spurs students to higher grades and exam scores.

“We are just delighted, and it doesn’t happen without great teachers,” she said.

Email Jessica Fuller at jfuller@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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