This year’s class of Indiana high school seniors averaged higher scores on the ACT college entrance exam than those a year earlier, keeping state scores above a steadily climbing national average.
The average score for Indiana’s class of 2007 was 22.0 on a 36-point scale, an improvement over last year’s average of 21.7, according to scores released Wednesday. The national average score was 21.2 for this year, up from 21.1 last year.
“The latest ACT results show more Indiana students are on track for college than ever before, particularly those who chose to take rigorous academic courses,” said Suellen Reed, the state’s schools superintendent.
Indiana’s average score on the ACT, which measures students’ readiness for college-level work, has exceeded the national score for more than a decade. However, only about 21 percent of Indiana’s 2007 graduating class took the ACT. Nationwide, about 42 percent of students took the ACT.
More than 60 percent of Indiana students took the SAT exam, where the state’s scores lag behind the national averages.
States with fewer students taking the test sometimes perform better than those where a greater percentage of students take the exam, said Ed Colby, a spokesman for the ACT. That could be because the few students who take the test in Indiana are more seriously considering college, Colby said.
The ACT is made up of four components: English, math, reading and science. Average scores in Indiana and nationwide improved across all four sections this year.
The scores this year reflect similar trends both good and bad from past years.
For example, students who took rigorous classes in high school scored better than students who didn’t. Students taking core college prep classes scored an average of 22.5, while other students averaged 21.2.
“That’s a huge difference in scores,” Colby said. “Coursework is really key to preparing for college and preparing for success after high school.”
This year’s incoming freshmen will be the first class required to complete the state’s Core 40 classes to graduate. Core 40 classes are academically rigorous and line up with ACT recommendations, said Jason Bearce, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Education.
“We would expect to see scores on exams like the ACT increase with that,” Bearce said.
The latest ACT scores also show that the stubborn achievement gap remains between white and Asian students and some other minorities. White students scored an average of 22.5 and Asian students averaged 24.2 on the exam this year. Hispanic students, meanwhile, averaged 19.9, while black students scored 17.3.
Every ethnic group improved scores from last year except for black students, whose average score remained stagnant. But more black students are taking the test, which is good news, Colby said.
“We’re having more students who are interested in college and are pursuing that dream,” he said.
– Associated Press
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