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Missouri 2014 Graduates Show Greater College Readiness with Higher ACT Scores

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Students outscore national average

After nearly a decade of scoring at 21.6, Missouri graduates have raised their ACT composite score to 21.8. The composite is higher than the national average of 21, and composite scores in each of the four ACT subject areas have increased over the past five years.

There was a slight decrease in the number of students taking the test; in 2013, 49,217 students took the ACT in Missouri compared with 48,865 in 2014. Despite the dip in actual numbers, the percentage of graduating seniors who took the test – 76 percent – rose two percent.

“We’re pleased to see higher ACT scores across our state,” said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro. “Our teachers and students are working hard to improve college readiness, and these scores are an indication that we’re moving closer to our goal of being among the top ten states in education by 2020.”

In addition to higher composite scores, the percentage of Missouri students who met ACT benchmarks rose in reading and science. A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course. There was also an increase in the percentage of students who met benchmarks in all four subject areas:

  • Reading: 51 percent, up from 49 percent last year; higher than the national average of 44 percent.
  • Science: 42 percent, up from 41 percent last year; higher than the national average of 37 percent.
  • Mathematics: 45 percent, unchanged from last year; higher than the national average of 43 percent.
  • English: 72 percent, unchanged from last year; higher than the national average of 64 percent.
  • All four subject areas: 29 percent, up from 28 percent last year; higher than the national average of 26 percent.

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, a one-time administration of the ACT exam will be given to every Missouri 11th grader. Accommodations will be provided for English language learners, students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), or 504 plans. The exam will be offered at no charge to the students and their families.

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