Minnesota students again score top marks on ACTs
ST. PAUL -- High school students’ ACT scores are flat this year, but Minnesota continues to lead the nation for states in which the majority of students take the college readiness exam.
Minnesota’s average ACT composite score dipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 22.9 with 76 percent of graduates taking the test, according to American College Testing’s latest report. Nationally, 1.8 million students, 57 percent of 2014 high school graduates, took the college readiness test with an average score of 21.
The ACT has a top possible score of 36.
Minnesota continues to have the top scores nationwide among states where the majority of their students are tested, results show. Several East Coast states where less than 30 percent of graduates take the ACT, though, outscored Minnesota.
Despite Minnesota students’ top performance, the state continues to have a large achievement gap between white and minority students. For instance, 62 percent of white students scored well enough to meet three or more of ACT’s college readiness benchmarks, but only 17 percent of black and 30 percent of Hispanic students met that mark.
ACT research has found students who score high enough to meet college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math and science are more likely to succeed in college. In Minnesota, 39 percent of ACT-takers meet all four benchmarks compared to 26 percent of ACT takers nationwide.
Minnesota continues to work to get more students to earn postsecondary degrees and certificates. Of the Minnesota students who took the ACT, 79 percent went on to college compared to the national average of 69 percent.
In May, state education leaders signed a $13.5 million contract with ACT to provide a series of college readiness tests to middle and high school students. Nearly every Minnesota student will take the ACT in 11th grade.
The deal with ACT came after state lawmakers made a controversial decision to scrap Minnesota’s Graduation Required Assessment for Diploma, or GRAD tests, every student had to pass in math and English to finish high school. Instead, lawmakers implemented a new system requiring that students be college or career ready before graduation.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.