State’s students continue to outperform national averages on ACT exam
TOPEKA — The number of Kansas students taking the ACT continues to rise as the state continues to outperform the nation in all four assessed areas — English, reading, mathematics and science.
Between 2013 and 2017, the number of Kansas students taking the test increased by 2 percent. Seventy-three percent of 2017 graduates took the ACT, compared to 60 percent nationally. There were 24,741 Kansas students who took the ACT in 2017, compared to 24,488 in 2016 and 23,708 in 2015. This year’s number of test takers is the highest in seven years.
Across the nation, there were 2,030,038 test takers in 2017, which is a decrease of 60,304 (3 percent) from 2016.
Kansas students earned an average composite score of 21.7, which is a slight decrease from 2016. It is still above the national average of 21.
Across the state, students’ average scores decreased by 0.2 in English, reading and math. There was a decrease of 0.1 in science. The percentage of high school graduates meeting all four ACT college ready benchmarks decreased from 31 in 2016 to 29 in 2017. This is still above the national average of 27.
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.
Sixty-nine percent of Kansas students this year met the English college readiness benchmark, compared to 61 percent nationally. Forty-six percent met the mathematics benchmark in Kansas, compared to 41 percent nationally.
The percentage of Kansas students meeting the reading benchmark in 2017 was 54, which is above the national average of 47. Forty-one percent of Kansas students met the science benchmark, which is above the national average of 37 percent.
ACT college readiness benchmark scores are: English, 18; Reading, 22; Math, 22; and Science 23.
“While we are encouraged by the increasing number of Kansas students preparing for postsecondary education, we know we have to better prepare our students both academically and socially/emotionally for life after high school,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “As part of the board’s vision for education, we are very focused on increasing the number of students entering and completing a postsecondary program, whether that’s earning a two-year or four-year degree, certification or entering the military. This is critical to meet the predicted workforce education requirements in Kansas.”
A national study, conducted by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, predicts that by the year 2020, 71 percent of jobs in Kansas will require employees to have a postsecondary certificate or degree.
More information about Kansas student performance on the ACT exam is available at www.act.org.
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