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National Average on ACT College Test Down Slightly

National Average on ACT College Test Down SlightlyIOWA CITY, Iowa
Scores dipped for the high school class of 2002 on the ACT college entrance exam, breaking a five-year streak during which results remained unchanged, the test-maker announced last month.
ACT Inc., a nonprofit based in Iowa City, Iowa, said the drop was to be expected because Illinois and Colorado began requiring that all high school juniors, starting with the class of ’02, take the test whether or not they are enrolled in college-prep courses.
Using scores students received on the latest ACT they took, 2002 graduates averaged a composite of 20.8, down from the 21 average maintained from 1997 to 2001.
More students than ever took the ACT, 1.12 million of this year’s graduates, or about 46,000 more than last year.
This year’s results are the first since Illinois and Colorado began assessing their public schools by having all 11th graders take the ACT at state expense, even if they don’t plan on attending college.
Richard Ferguson, chief executive of ACT, said in a statement that the requirement had a positive result: “Thousands of students in Illinois and Colorado who had not indicated an interest in attending college were identified as ready for college coursework.”
Illinois added the ACT to its two days of state tests to assess learning. Colorado is using ACT scores to evaluate schools, but also to encourage more students to attend college.
In college admissions, the ACT is designed for use with high school grades to predict academic readiness for college. Scored on a 1-36 point scale, the ACT is actually four exams: English, reading, mathematics and science.
This year on the ACT, males averaged modestly better than females, 20.9 compared with 20.7, respectively, the same gap as in recent years. But girls also comprised 56 percent of ’02 test-takers.
Differences in scores between Whites and minorities also continued. Last year, average scores for Whites and Asian Americans were 21.8 and 21.7, respectively, while Blacks averaged 16.9.
This year, Whites averaged 21.7; Asian Americans, 21.6; Blacks, 16.8. (Hispanic students were in two groups: Puerto Rican/Hispanics, who averaged 18.8, and Mexican-American/Chicano, 18.2). 

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