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Kansas students outperform national averages on ACT

Posted: Aug 24, 2016
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

August 24, 2016




Kansas students outperform
national averages on ACT

Number of students taking test continues to increase


TOPEKA – The number of students taking the ACT has increased in Kansas and the state continues to outperform the nation in all four assessed areas — English, reading, mathematics and science — of the 2016 ACT college entrance exam.


Kansas students earned an average composite score of 21.9 compared to the national average score of 20.8.


Between 2012 and 2016, the number of students taking the ACT in Kansas increased 2.4 percent. In 2016, 24,488 Kansas students took the ACT, an increase of 780 students over 2015. It was the largest number of test takers in the past five years.


Despite the size of the state’s graduating class taking the ACT, the average ACT composite score has stayed the same (21.9 percent). This is notable because the average scores tend to decrease with a broadening of the testing base, according to ACT research.


Across the state, students’ reading average scores increased by 0.1 from 2015 while English and science stayed the same and math decreased by 0.1.


After having seen the percentage of high school graduates meeting all four ACT college readiness benchmarks grow from 28 percent in 2011 to 32 percent in 2015, the percent fell to 31 percent. This is still well ahead of the national average of 26 percent.


The ACT college readiness benchmarks represent scores that would indicate a level of academic preparation needed to have at least a 50 percent chance of achieving a grade of B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses.


Seventy-four percent of Kansas high school graduating seniors participated in the 2016 ACT test compared to 64 percent nationally.


Seventy percent of Kansas students this year met the English college readiness benchmark, compared to 61 percent nationally. Forty-eight percent met the mathematics benchmark in Kansas, compared to 41 percent nationally. The percentage of Kansas students meeting the reading benchmark in 2016 was 53 percent, which is above the national average of 44 percent. Forty-three percent of Kansas students met the science benchmark, which is above the national average of 36 percent.


Kansas ACT scores remained relatively unchanged from one year ago:

















ACT college readiness benchmark scores are: English, 18; Reading, 22; Math, 22; and Science 23.


“We are extremely proud of Kansas’ students, teachers and schools,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson. “Academic skills are important, and the ACT exam is one measure to indicate if our students are ready for postsecondary success. It is exciting to see growth of 2.4 percent over the last few years in the number of Kansas students wanting to  seek additional education. As we continue to increase the number of students in Kansas preparing to go on to postsecondary success, it is important to look at all measures of student success. The State Board of Education’s new vision, Kansas leads the success of each student, is about more than assessment results and will require that we work with families and students to continue to grow the entire child — academically, emotionally and socially. From kindergarten readiness and social-emotional growth to graduation rates and postsecondary completion. We have to focus on the needs of each student.”


More information about Kansas student performance on the ACT exam is available at www.act.org.


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