Three out of four (76 percent) Missouri ACT-tested high school graduates in 2013 met at least one college readiness benchmark, according to ACT's The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2013 annual report released today. Only 28 percent of Missouri test-takers met all four benchmarks, which was above the national average of 26 percent and an increase of 1 percent over 2012. An achievement gap still persists in Missouri with 5 percent of African Americans and 18 percent of Hispanic/Latinos meeting all four benchmarks on the ACT.
A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a "B" grade or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a "C" grade or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course.
College- and career-readiness is a goal of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for Missouri to rank among the top 10 performing states in education by the year 2020.
"We are encouraged to see efforts already underway to address readiness issues," said Jon Whitmore, ACT chief executive officer. "Individual states are making bold efforts to improve college- and career-readiness, including strengthening learning standards. The Common Core State Standards, which ACT helped develop, are raising the bar."
In 2013, Missouri's ACT composite score remained at 21.6 for the ninth year in a row. This ranks Missouri 7th out of 20 states with similar participation rates, those with 50 percent or more and fewer than 100 percent of graduates tested. Overall, Missouri ranks 23rd nationally, which is up from 26th in 2012. The number of Missouri graduates taking the ACT declined slightly to 74 percent or 49,217 graduates, compared to 75 percent or 49,222 graduates last year.
Forty-four Missouri students scored a perfect 36 on the exam in 2013, up from 29 last year. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score.
The national composite score was 20.9, a slight decrease from 21.1 the previous year.
The ACT exam is the most frequently utilized college-entry test in Missouri. Founded in 1959, ACT is nonprofit organization based in Iowa City, Iowa. More information about ACT can be found at act.org.