Sandy Connolly, Minnesota Office of Higher Education, (651) 259-3902
Doug Gray, Minnesota Department of Education, (651) 582-8281
Ken Gullette, ACT, (319) 337-1028
Students taking rigorous high school courses score consistently better than those who do not
ST. PAULThe average ACT score for Minnesota students in 2005 was the highest in the nation among states where the majority of high school graduates took the test, according to state ACT results released today by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Minnesota's ACT-tested high school graduates in the class of 2005 earned an average composite score of 22.3 on the ACT college admission and placement exam, up slightly from the 22.2 average from the previous year.
"The top score is great news for Minnesota, and the fact that a growing percentage of Minnesota students are taking the test is also important," said Susan Heegaard, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "Beyond the state rankings, there is a lot to learn from our ACT report about the college readiness of students and where we can improve."
Minnesota's results show consistently higher scores in each subject area for students who took rigorous college preparatory courses in English, mathematics, social studies and science. The results also illustrate that persistent and significant achievement gaps exist between white students and minority students who took the test.
"Our latest public education reform efforts dovetail with the lessons from this year's ACT results," Minnesota Department of Education commissioner Alice Seagren noted. "The Get Ready-Get Credit program Governor Pawlenty recently signed into law will give our students more tools and more incentive to take challenging courses that will improve their readiness for and smooth their transition to postsecondary education."
Get Ready-Get Credit provides resources for students to take college readiness and interest assessments such as those offered through ACT's Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) in both eighth and 10th grades. It also awards college credit for high school work in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes or through College Level Exam Program (CLEP) tests.
The national average score is 20.9, and the highest possible score on the test is 36 points. Sixty-eight percent of Minnesota's 2005 high school graduates took the ACT test in their junior or senior year of high school. The number of Minnesota test takers decreased from to 42,163 in 2004 to 41,646 in 2005, yet the percentage of students taking the test increased from 66 percent in 2004 to 68 percent in 2005.
"With global competition, it's important to note that our academic competitors are more than Wisconsin and Iowa," said Heegaard. "We need to learn more about how our students stack up against those in other countries. Particularly when it comes to math and science college readiness, the scores support the Governor's call for more rigor in the later years of high school."
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test designed to measure the skills and knowledge that are taught in schools and deemed important for first-year college students to possess. The ACT is made up of four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science, plus an optional writing test, which was introduced in February 2005. The ACT is administered in all 50 states and is the predominant college entrance exam in 25 states, including Minnesota.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is a state agency providing students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to postsecondary education. The agency serves as the state's clearinghouse for data, research and analysis on postsecondary enrollment, financial aid, finance and trends.