A highlight of Hawkins County's 2018 ACT scores, however, was that 35.7 percent score of 21 or better making them automatically eligible to meet Ready Graduate requirements.
Under the new Ready Graduate state program, earning a 21 on the ACT is one of the four ways that students can indicate that they are prepared for life after high school and able to seamlessly enroll in postsecondary education, enter the workplace or join the military.
Also, for the second year in a row, Hawkins County met the state participation requirement of at least 95 percent for students taking the test.
The ACT test is the leading US college admissions test that measures what students learn in high school to determine their academic readiness for college.
Part of the five year plan
Hawkins County assistant director of schools Beth Holt told the Times News Wednesday that improving ACT scores is a focus of the district's Five Year Strategic Plan.
Holt said faculty and administrators have worked diligently to better prepare students to achieve the school district's goal of an average composite ACT score of 21 by 2020.
"In order to better prepare our students to achieve on the ACT, high schools utilize the Analyze Ed online diagnostic program which helps prepare students to take the ACT by focusing on areas of need," Holt said. "Additionally, Hawkins County students are offered ACT Prep classes during the school day. School counselors have worked to help even our youngest students understand the value of doing well on the ACT test and schools have offered family engagement opportunities for parents to learn more about the ACT."
Holt added, "Our goal going forward is certainly to have more students achieve a score of 21 or better on the ACT. We are confident that our increased emphasis on preparing students to take the test, providing parents with more information about the importance and value of a good ACT score, and additional professional development for high school teachers will result in continuous improvement on the ACT."
Kingsport and Sullivan County
Both Kingsport and Sullivan County exceeded this year's state average of 20.2.
Kingsport's overall ACT score was 22.0, while Sullivan County's was 20.3.
The Times News will take a closer look at Kingsport and Sullivan County's ACT scores later this week.
Across the region
Across the region Washington County scored 20.7; Johnson City 22.3; Unicoi County 19.9; Bristol 21.3; Johnson County 19.2; Hancock County 18.8; Hamblen County 20.5; Greeneville 21.9; Greene County 18.7; Grainger County 18.3; Elizabethton 21.9; and Carter County 19.3.
Across the state
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Wednesday that Tennessee students have once again broken the previous year’s record by earning an average composite score of 20.2 on the ACT in 2018 improvong on the 2017 score by one/10th of a percent.
An additional 2,000 students took the exam this year, bringing the state’s participation rate up to 97 percent – also a record high.
The 63,104 Tennessee students who took the ACT increased their average score in most subject areas including: 19.7 in English, up 0.2 points; 19.5 in math, up 0.1 points; 20.7 in reading, up 0.3 points; and 20.3 in science, same as 2017.
"The ACT provides an opportunity for our students to show they are college and career ready, and seeing a higher average score at the same time more students are taking the test is a true testament to the work that is happening in Tennessee schools,” McQueen said. “Our schools are increasingly moving toward deeper teaching and learning that meets our higher expectations, and that focus pays off on tests like the ACT and SAT.”
Other encouraging statewide results show that students who are economically disadvantaged grew an average of 0.2 points, bringing their average composite score up to a 17.7 compared to a 17.5 in 2017.
In 2018, 23 percent of students who are economically disadvantaged earned a score of 21 higher compared to 21.2 in 2017.