Ohio ACT scores remain steady; underserved students not ready for college

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Scores on the ACT college entrance exam rose for Minnesota's Class of 2017 and remain among America's best.

Findings released from ACT's annual score report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017, show that 57 percent of the ACT-tested Louisiana high school students who graduated this year met the English benchmark. While the state heralded its 21.4 average, I have to point out kids need higher scores for competitive schools. The average composite score for the 2017 Arkansas public school graduating class was 19.2.

More than 2 million 2017 graduates took the ACT test, and the national composite score was 21, out of 36 possible points. Each of the four sections of the ACT-English, reading, math, and science-is scored on a 0-36 scale. "Steady gains in states are not unusual, but we rarely see this type of improvement over such a short period of time", said Paul Weeks, ACT senior vice president for client relations.

In third place statewide, the Charleston County School of the Arts saw an increase from 23.7 in 2016 to 24.5.

An impressive 90.6% of Class of 2017 graduates were accepted to a two- or four-year college or university, up from 79.6% for the Class of 2016 and 51.8% for the Class of 2015.

"What our education system is doing now is not working well enough for far too numerous country's young people", said ACT Chief Executive Officer Marten Roorda. In the class of 2017, half of South Carolina's students and 33 percent nationwide met none of the benchmarks, suggesting they are likely to struggle during their first year in college.

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The benchmarks specify the minimum score that students must earn on each of the four ACT subject tests to have about a 75 percent chance of earning a grade of C or higher and a 50 percent chance of earning a B in a typical credit-bearing, first-year college course in that subject area.

In most areas, the percentage of students testing ready for college declined from 2016. Seventy-three percent of 2017 graduates took the ACT, compared to 60 percent nationally.

Among students who met only one of the underserved criteria, just 26 percent showed strong readiness.

"I am very proud of our hard-working students, excellent educators and great schools", she said. "A major concern is the decrease in the percentage of students ready for College English as well as the low percentage ready for success in all four areas". Nationally, that number was 27 percent.

From providing additional ACT preparation resources to ensuring all students have the opportunity to take rigorous classes that prepare them for life beyond high school, ADE and the Departments of Higher Education and Career Education are partnering to transform Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education.

Robert A. Schaeffer, the public education director for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, which opposes high-stakes standardized tests, said in an email that the exam results reflect "more about ACT's marketing wars with the College Board than anything meaningful about high school students". The ACT measures a student's readiness for college in the subjects of English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science.

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