August 22, 2012
For immediate release
Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
Kansas ACT college readiness scores inch up
Participation rates continue to rise
TOPEKA – A slightly higher percentage of Kansas high school graduates met college readiness benchmarks on the 2012 ACT college entrance exam, even as the average composite score for graduates bumped down by a tenth of a percent.
In Kansas, 81 percent of 2012 graduating seniors took the ACT exam, up from 79 percent in 2011 and 75 percent in 2010. Of those students, 29 percent met college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math and science. That’s up from 28 percent in 2011 and still tops the national average of 25 percent.
The ACT college readiness benchmarks represent scores that would indicate a level of preparation needed to have at least a 50 percent chance of achieving a grade of B or above in entry-level college coursework. In both English and reading, the percent of graduating seniors taking the ACT who met the college readiness benchmarks held steady in 2012, at 73 percent and 60 percent respectively. The percent of Kansas graduates meeting the benchmarks in math and science each went up a percentage point. Fifty-two percent of graduates taking the ACT met the benchmark in math while 35 percent met the science benchmark.
“It’s gratifying to see that the number of students achieving college readiness benchmarks is moving in the right direction, even as we continue to increase the number of students taking the ACT college entrance exam,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. “When we look at the number of students who were within just two points of meeting those benchmarks, we see that we have the potential to increase the percentage of students meeting benchmarks by about 10 percentage points or more in each subject area. As educators, we must commit ourselves to achieving that goal and continuing to grow the number of our students prepared to enter college or career upon high school graduation.”
The average score for Kansas high school graduates in English was 21.3, well above the benchmark of 18. Kansas’ average reading score was 22.3, 1.3 percentage points above the college readiness benchmark of 21. In math, Kansas students’ average score was 21.8, just 0.2 percentage points below the benchmark of 22, and in science Kansas students’ average score was 21.7, 2.3 percentage points below the benchmark of 24.
Overall, the average composite score in the state was 21.9, down just a tenth of percent from 22.0 in 2011, but still topping the national average of 21.1. The state’s average composite score has fluctuated up or down by a tenth of percent over the past five years.
Numbers from the 2012 ACT exam continued to show the importance of taking core coursework in high school. Core coursework includes four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies. Students who complete core coursework consistently score higher on all areas of the ACT than students who do not complete core coursework. In Kansas, 81 percent of graduates taking the ACT exam completed core or more coursework in high school and their average composite score was 22.5; 3.1 percentage points higher than students who had not taken core coursework and 0.6 percentage points higher than the average composite score for all Kansas graduates taking the exam.
More information about Kansas students’ performance on the ACT exam can be found at www.act.org.