A quarter of the 2011 high school graduates who took the ACT test met or exceeded all of the test system’s four college readiness benchmarks, while 23 percent of Colorado graduates met all four.
Colorado traditionally lags national averages slightly in ACT reports. Colorado is one of only eight states were 100 percent of students are required to take the test in the 11th grade.
ACT scores are required by many colleges as part of the application process, but in recent years the Iowa-based test company has worked to position the test and a set of companion exams as predictors of college readiness that can be used by students, counselors and even policymakers.
In a prepared statement released by ACT, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “These ACT results are another sign that states need to raise their academic standards and commit to education reforms that accelerate student achievement.” The 2011 results were released early Wednesday.
The readiness benchmarks, which are calculated using grades earned by college students correlated to their ACT scores, identify the minimum ACT scores in the test sections on English composition, reading, math and science that indicate if a student has a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher in a typical first-year college course.
The chart shows the percentages of U.S. and Colorado students who met the benchmark in each subject area.
The math and science percentages were up slightly from 2010 while English and reading were unchanged.
In Colorado, 13 percent of test-takers met the benchmarks in three subjects, 17 percent in two, 15 percent in one, and 32 percent met none of the benchmarks. Nationally, 28 percent of test-takers didn’t meet the benchmark in any subject, the same percentage as in 2010.
Here are the national average scores on the ACT test:
- Composite – 21.1
- English composition – 20.6
- Math – 21.1
- Reading – 21.3
- Science – 20.9
Colorado scores were 20.7 composite, 20.1 English, 20.4 math, 20.9 reading and 20.7 science.
Colorado students’ 2010 average scores in those areas were 20.6 composite, 19.9 English, 20.4 math, 21.1 reading and 20.7 science.
More than 1.62 million 2011 graduates took the ACT test. The proportion of African-American and Hispanic test-takers has grown from 19 percent in 2007 to a high of 26 percent in 2011. Score results show significant gaps between the scores of white students and minorities.
The annual report from ACT also examined the percentage of students who take what the testing company believes is an appropriate set of college prep courses. The report found that 69 percent of Colorado students took recommended coursework in English composition, 54 in reading, 46 percent in math and only 34 percent in science.