Denise Kahler, Director of Communications     (785) 296-4876


August 20, 2014

For Immediate Release

Kansas 2014 ACT college readiness scores rebound

Students outperform nation in all four assessment areas



TOPEKA – The percentage of Kansas high school graduates meeting college readiness benchmarks in all areas measured on the ACT college entrance exam, increased for the fourth year in a row, and the average composite score recorded its largest increase since 2011.


Seventy-five percent of Kansas high school graduating seniors participated in the 2014 ACT test compared to 57 percent nationally. Of those students, 31 percent met college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math and science, (up from 30 percent in 2013, 29 percent in 2012 and 28 percent in 2011 and 2010), well ahead of the national average of 26 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. 


The percentage of 2014 Kansas graduating students taking the ACT who met college readiness benchmarks in English and Reading held steady from 2013 at 72 percent and 52 percent, respectively. The percentage of graduating students meeting college readiness benchmarks in Math declined for the second year in a row (50 percent in 2014 versus 51 percent in 2013 and 52 percent in 2012).  Kansas once again experienced the most significant increase in the percentage of students reported to be meeting science benchmarks (44 percent in 2014 versus 42 percent in 2013 and 35 percent in 2012).


Kansas ACT scores remained the same in Math (21.7), but increased in English (21.4 in 2014 from 21.2 in 2013, Reading (22.5 in 2014 from 22.3 in 2013) and Science (21.8 in 2014 from 21.7 in 2013).


“We are pleased with the increased number of Kansas high school graduates now taking the ACT,” said interim education commissioner Brad Neuenswander. “This gives us a more complete picture of the college readiness of our students and helps inform state and local education decisions in Kansas. Our students continue to score ahead of the national average and our goal is to continue to increase the number of children meeting and exceeding established benchmarks.”


The average score for Kansas high school graduates in English was 21.2, well above the benchmark of 18. Kansas’ average reading score remained unchanged at 22.3 (three tenths of a percent above the new benchmark).  In math, Kansas students’ average score was 21.7, just .03 percentage point below the benchmark of 22, and in science, Kansas students’ average score remained unchanged at 21.7, 1.3 percentage points below the new benchmark of 23.


Overall, the average composite score in the state was 22, up two- tenths of a percent from 21.8 in 2013. The national composite score increased to 21 in 2014 from 20.9 in 2013.


In comparing Kansas’ 2014 ACT college readiness scores with those states that also have 75 percent or more of its graduating high school students taking the ACT exam, Kansas’ average composite score of 22 ranked second highest. Minnesota reported a composite score of 22.9 and South Dakota reported a composite score of 21.9.


Results of the 2014 ACT exam continue to demonstrate 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. Statistics show that students who complete core coursework consistently score higher on all areas of the ACT exam than students who do not complete core coursework. In Kansas, 80 percent of the 2014 graduates who took the ACT exam completed core or more coursework in high school and their average composite score was 22.7; 3.3 percentage points higher than those student who had not taken core coursework and 0.7 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 is available at