Readiness Courses Are Making a Difference
Students Increase ACT Scores Significantly

Blog post John Squires

High school seniors who take SREB’s Literacy Ready and Math Ready courses can substantially increase their readiness for college. We analyzed ACT scores of students in two states – before and after they took the transitional courses. More than half increased their scores, with average increases of 2 to 3.5 points on ACT sub-score and composite scores.

SREB compared 2015-16 ACT scores of about 550 students in 33 Mississippi and Arkansas schools who took the readiness courses that school year to their scores in 2014-15 before they took the courses.

Watch for a policy brief with more details from our analysis. Meanwhile, here’s a summary of what we saw.

Literacy Ready Results

More than half of the students in the Literacy Ready course increased their ACT sub-scores in English and reading, as well as their overall ACT score, by a statistically significant amount. Among students who increased their scores, the average increase was 3.16 points in English, 3.48 points in reading and 2.26 points on the ACT composite score.

Here’s what this looked like at one Mississippi school. At Horn Lake High School, seven of the 12 Literacy Ready students improved their ACT English scores and eight of the 12 improved their reading, science and composite scores. The typical increase was more than 3 points in English and reading, more than 4 points in science, and more than 2 points on the composite score. Before Literacy Ready, none of the students had an ACT composite score higher than 17. After taking Literacy Ready, six of the 12 students had composite ACT scores of 18 or higher.

Math Ready ACT Results

Students who take SREB Math Ready often experience significant gains in their abilities to understand and apply mathematical concepts. The majority of students in this analysis increased their ACT sub-scores in math and science, as well as their overall ACT score. Among the 60 percent of students who increased their scores, the average increase was 2.14 points in math, 3.41 points in science and 2.09 points on the ACT composite score.

At Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, two-thirds of the 94 students with before and after ACT scores improved their math score; 61 percent improved their science score, and 69 percent improved their ACT composite score. The typical gains: 2 or more points in math; 3 or more points in science; and 2 or more points on the composite. Overall, theaverage math score of the group went from 16.4 to 17.7. The science scores increased from an average of 16.7 to 17.8, and the ACT composite scores improved from an average of 16.9 to 18.2 points. Each of these gains is statistically significant.

John Squires directs SREB’s Readiness Course program.