Montgomery Schools On Road to Improvement with ACT Data

Schools across Alabama are getting big news this fall.

Last year was the first time 3rd-8th graders took the ACT Aspire, and it was the first time all juniors took the ACT college readiness exam. Results are coming in now, presenting unique opportunities for systems to review and discuss where their students stand, and how to make sure they’re on track to graduating ready for life after graduation.

(For more information about the tests themselves, read A+’s policy brief outlining the new assessments and explaining the expected score changes as the state raises expectations.)
In Montgomery, the school system is setting a great example for the state by stepping up and starting a discussion about its scores.

This PowerPoint presentation from the Montgomery Public Schools Office of Assessment and Accountability is filled with important data about the system’s results on the ACT Aspire and ACT college readiness exam. This information should inform board members, educators, and parents as they decide on strategies to best educate their students.

According to ACT, we know that if a 3rd-8th grader in Alabama meets the Readiness Benchmark scores on the ACT Aspire, they’re “on target for college readiness by the time they are in 11th grade.”

Tested GradeReadingMath

For high school students, ACT has benchmark scores on its well-known college entrance exam that all juniors in Alabama now take. Those benchmarks are “the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college courses, which include English Composition, Algebra, Social Science and Biology.”

The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are:

College Course/Course AreaACT TestBenchmark Score
English CompositionEnglish18
Social ScienceReading22

For Montgomery, challenges lay ahead. But, they are taking the right steps to improve by discussing the scores now.

Only 10% of students who took the ACT met all four College Readiness benchmarks. This is lower than Alabama as a whole, which had 13% of students meet all four College Readiness benchmarks.

On the ACT Aspire, 26-39% of Montgomery’s  3rd-8th graders met the Readiness benchmarks in Reading, and 16-41% in math (for more detail, see page 7 of the presentation).

For some, this may be difficult information to swallow, but Montgomery’s schools are on the right track. Thanks to the new ACT data, the system not only knows where it stands, but it’s also “owning it.” The first step towards progress is being completely transparent about challenges, the things that are going well, and the opportunities for improving teaching and learning.

Good things are in store for students in Montgomery.