More Missouri Graduates Take the ACT Exam


More Missouri graduates took the ACT exam in 2015 than in 2014 while scoring higher than the national average, according to data released by ACT on Wednesday.

49,640 students in the class of 2015 took the test (77 percent of the graduating class) compared with 48,864 in the class of 2014. Since 2011, Missouri has seen a 2 percent increase in graduating seniors who have taken the exam.

“The ACT is one tool used to measure college and career readiness,” said Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “We are pleased that the percent of Missouri students meeting readiness benchmarks continues to exceed national averages on all four measures: English, mathematics, reading and science.”

The 2015 average composite score of 21.7 remains higher than the score of 21.6 Missouri maintained from 2005-2013. Missouri remains above the national average of 21.0. Ninety-one percent of Missouri graduates who took the ACT indicated they wished to pursue post-secondary education.

Missouri graduates also outscored the national average in percentage of students achieving college readiness benchmarks in each subject area:

  • English, 71 percent; higher than the national average of 64 percent
  • Reading, 51 percent; higher than the national average of 46 percent
  • Math,  44 percent; higher than the national average of 42 percent
  • Science, 42 percent; higher than the national average of 38 percent
  • All four subject areas, 30 percent; higher than the national average of 28 percent

The 2014-15 school year marked the first time the state offered a one-time administration of the exam to all 11th-grade students in the state. The same opportunity will be offered to 11th graders during the 2015-16 school year. Today’s data reflect the 2015 graduating seniors and do not include 11th-grade scores from the spring of 2015.

The ACT is the primary college-entry exam used by Missouri students and is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest. College and career readiness is a primary goal of Missouri’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, which aims to make Missouri a top 10 state for education by 2020.