CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Newly released results of Hamilton County students' ACT scores show the need for "more effort" in the subjects of Math and Science.

Dr. Kirk Kelly, Director of Accountability and Testing tells Eyewitness News School Patrol that slight improvements have been made during the past two years, but the new numbers reveal a definite weakness in those two subject areas, as well as a significant "learning gap" between higher income and lower income schools.

Local students fared better in English and Reading, according to the American College Testing scores.  Dr. Kelly said the number of Hamilton County students taking the test has risen significantly in the past two years, with almost all 11th graders now participating.  He says the increase in students taking the test has been a contributing factor to lower overall scores.

The 2011 results show that overall, 11.7 percent of Hamilton County students met all four subject area "college ready" benchmarks, up from 10 percent in 2010.  This includes 17.9 percent of white students, but less than 1 percent of African-American students.  The gap was also significant in family income.  Students with family income in excess of $50,000 had a 26.4 percent college ready rate; below $50,000, the rate was only 10.5 percent.

Science proved to be the most difficult subject for local high schoolers, with only 15.4 percent deemed "college ready."  Math was next lowest, at 22.8 percent.  Students fared better in the subjects of Reading, with 35.1 percent, and were best in English, with a rate of 52.8 percent.

Superintendent Rick Smith said recently that under No Child Left Behind, the district is committed to narrowing the ethnicity and income learning gap at a rate of 10 percent each year.  He said the task is a challenging one, but very necessary.   

The full report can be found here