Arkansas high school students reached record scores on the math and reading portion of the ACT college entrance exam this year, but the state still trailed the national composite average on the standardized test.
Data released Wednesday by ACT showed Arkansas students who took the exam scored 19.9 on average in math and 20.9 in reading. The top score on the test is 36.
In English, the average score for Arkansas was 20.5, while the average science score was 20.2.
State education commissioner Ken James said the state’s overall composite of 20.5 dropped by a tenth of a point from last year, a fact he attributed to having 400 more seniors take the test this year. Nationally, the composite ACT score was 21.2, up from 21.1 in 2006.
Nationwide, 1.3 million of this year’s high school graduates took the test. In Arkansas, 21,403 students took the test. Racially, that broke down to 69 percent white, 16 percent black, nearly 3 percent Hispanic, 1.8 percent Asian and less than 1 percent American Indian. Nine percent of those taking the test either declined to answer or were of another race.
Arkansas students must score a 19 or higher on the English and mathematics portion of the tests to avoid remedial courses in college. By that standard, 64 percent of state students made the cut for college English, while 53 percent did so for mathematics, the state Department of Education said.
“Remediation rates in the state are on a downward trend,” James said in a statement. “A few years ago, we had to share the statistics showing that only half of our students entering college were ready for college-level work. While these numbers are still too high, the education reforms the state has made in recent years and that have continued under Gov. Beebe are indeed having a positive impact on our state.”
– Associated Press
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