District Secures 16th Highest ACT Score

Weakley County Schools Secures 16th Highest ACT Composite Score
Posted on 01/05/2024
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Following the Tennessee Department of Education’s release of ACT results and participation rate for the 2023 graduating class, Weakley County Schools has secured the 16th highest ACT composite score out of 127 districts listed in the report. Weakley County Schools also secured the 16th highest score in the state for achieving an average composite score of 21 or above.

Donald Ray High, Supervisor of Instruction for Grades 6-12, highlighted the point by explaining, "The achievement is a testament to the dedication of teachers and the hard work of students. We prioritize ACT preparation across all our high schools, offering focused courses and boot camps concentrating on effective test-taking strategies."

A student appears to be taking an ACT exam and student appears to be male but you can only see the arms and hands
ACT Exam: The ACT takes 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete, has 4 sections, and a total of 215 questions.

Weakley County Schools is unique in its inclusive representation. Unlike districts with exclusions for special schools, magnet schools, and charter schools, all of the district's public schools are included as part of the composite score. Therefore, the comprehensive score earned is an accurate figure that truly reflects the collective performance of all the district’s schools.

Explaining the district's approach to academic preparation, Terri Stephenson, Supervisor of Elementary Instruction for Grades Pre-K through 5, emphasized, "Preparation for student success begins early. Alongside daily instruction in the classroom, teachers are cultivating essential test-taking skills and strategies from the elementary level. We embed test-taking skills and strategies within our elementary curriculum. Reading instruction, which is a cornerstone of the ACT, starts in primary and elementary school. It all fits together to ensure a strong foundation for student success on the ACT assessment.”  

Assistant Director of Schools Betsi Foster said that the achievement is no accident.

“Our ACT scores are a result of deliberate efforts. We start preparing our students for tough tests in middle school. This means we're intentionally teaching them the skills and knowledge they need to do well on challenging exams, making sure they're ready for the important academic tests ahead. Our teachers are the best you’ll find,” Foster said.

This milestone also echoes the district’s previous successes, such as the recognition received in May 2023 for ranking 16th highest in third-grade ELA (English Language Arts), underscoring the district’s comprehensive approach to early childhood literacy. In addition, 43.5% of students surpassing the 21 composite score on the ACT exceeds the district's TISA goal of 40%.

Three members of the district's data team studies data from a chart on the wall at the board of education with all three smiling at the good data from the district
Team Studies Data Wall:  L to R – PreK-5 Grade Supervisor of Instruction Terri Stephenson, 6-12 Grade Supervisor of Instruction Donald Ray High, and Federal Programs Director Jon Gardner study the data wall posted at the Board of Education in Dresden. The district team is continually analyzing performance trends, re-evaluating data points, and setting targets for improvement and achievement. 

Director of Schools Jeff Cupples expressed his pride in the district's achievement.

"Our success reflects the collaborative effort of every teacher, staff member, and student. We believe in the power of consistent efforts and commitment. Our schools are doing great things, and we never shy away from hard work. There’s always room for improvement and growth, but it’s clear that we’re headed in the right direction.”
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