GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — One school district is getting some major recognition for its students’ high scores on standardized test.
Germantown Municipal School District has had the highest ACT scores in the state for four years in a row, according to the Tennessee Department of Education.
This all translating to college scholarship money for many of its students.
Meet Claire Jordan, a senior at Houston High School. She scored a 26 on the ACT and recently took the test again. She’s aiming for an even higher score.
“It definitely gets easier every time you take it,” said Jordan. “As you go along, you get more experience with the test.”
The district has a 25.9 average ACT score, which is the highest in the state for the 4th year in a row. Secondary Instructor Supervisor Bill Gillespie says preparation starts early.
“It starts as early as kindergarten. When you look at mastering content to performing the ACT, about 40 percent of the skills and standards needed to excel on the ACT should be mastered by a student by the time they complete the 8th grade,” said Gillespie.
Superintendent James Manuel says about four years ago, they changed their philosophy and allowed all students to enroll in honors and AP courses.
“It’s rigorous instruction every single day in the classroom. There isn’t a magic curriculum, there isn’t a magic bullet or study session or practice that you can do,” said Manuel. “It’s really about are you challenging students and meeting their needs where they are.”
The district also had the highest percentage of students scoring at or above a 21, which qualifies them for the hope scholarship.
“The hope scholarship is awesome. Especially when you want to cut down on the student loans,” said Jordan. “It’s an amazing opportunity. You can get almost $6,000 every year.”
Jordan plans to study English in college. She’s one of many students earning money through scholarships to help pay her in-state tuition.
Also, the state of Tennessee is marking its highest average ACT score ever at 20.2, which is a new standard for the state.
Educators hope to inch towards an average 21 score by 2020 which will earn more students money for college.