Tags: ACT | scores | Duncan | education | reform

Duncan: ACT Scores Show Need for Education Reform

Thursday, 18 Aug 2011 06:01 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Just a little more than a quarter of high-school graduates did well enough on the ACT college entrance exams this year to be considered academically ready for higher learning, according to testing officials.
 
The scores released Wednesday showed that only one in four out of the 2011 class scored high enough in the four basic benchmarks reading, writing, math, and science to make it through the first year of college. Some 28 percent of students taking the test did not even meet the minimum score in each category to be considered for post-secondary education.
 
Overall, the scores revealed why educators have been focusing on college readiness programs lately that offer more challenges for students interested in pursuing a college degree, officials said.

In commenting on the latest scores, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “American students are making incremental progress toward being ready to complete college-level work, but there’s still significant work to be done.”

“These ACT results are another sign that states need to raise their academic standards and commit to education reforms that accelerate student achievement,” Duncan said.

Nationwide, the average composite score out of high of 36 was 21.1.

Students in New England tended to do better across the board than other regions of the country.

Massachusetts and Connecticut students, for example, posted the highest average composite scores of 24.2 and 23.9 respectively. Students in Mississippi and Tennessee, meanwhile, posted the lowest, 18.7 and 19.5 respectively.

The breakdown in the four main benchmark is:
66 percent of those taking the test met the English composition requirement; 52 percent met the reading mark; 45 percent aced the math; and 30 percent topped the science hurdle.

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