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Minnesota Number One on ACT Scores Nationally




Sandy Connolly, Minnesota Office of Higher Education, (651) 259-3902
Randy Wanke, Minnesota Department of Education, (651) 582-1145

The average ACT score for Minnesota students in 2006 was again the highest in the nation among states where the majority of high school graduates took the test, according to results released today by ACT. Minnesota's ACT-tested high school graduates in the class of 2006 earned an average composite score of 22.3 on the college admission and placement exam, identical to last year's average score.

The average ACT score for the nation is 21.1 out of a possible 36 points.

"Minnesota is at the top of the list nationally and we're happy to have the bragging rights," said Susan Heegaard, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "Under Governor Pawlenty's leadership, we won't rest on our laurels. We are focused on better aligning high school and postsecondary programs and bringing more relevance and rigor to all our schools."

The data collected by ACT from students indicates a strong correlation nationally between taking a rigorous high school curriculum and higher scores on the ACT. 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.

ACT Scores
Average ACT composite score
Minnesota Students Number tested % taking minimum core Average score Took minimum core curriculum* Took less than minimum core curriculum
All Students41,65058%22.323.020.9
African Am./Black1,18851%17.818.517.1
Am. Indian/Alaskan Nat.24147%19.920.319.7
Caucasian Am./White33,42660%22.623.321.2
Asian Am./Pacific Islander1,95259%20.421.119.3

*Minimum core high school curriculum is defined by ACT as four years of English, three or more years of mathematics, three or more years of social sciences, three or more years of natural sciences.

A proposal offered by Governor Tim Pawlenty, and approved by the legislature this year, will require that students take algebra I by eighth grade and algebra II and chemistry or physics in order to graduate from high school. The new requirement goes into effect with incoming fourth-graders. Additionally, Governor Pawlenty recently proposed ACHIEVE - a financial aid program that would provide free tuition for two years at a public institution to students who graduate in the top 25 percent of their class. Under the proposal, an additional two years of free tuition is available to Minnesota students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

"Minnesotans can be proud of having the top average ACT score in the nation, but our work doesn't stop here," Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said. "It's no longer enough to prepare our students to compete with students in Wisconsin. We need to prepare them to compete with students around the globe."

Top 5 States (where majority take ACT)
StateAverage Composite Score% of Graduates Tested

Sixty-seven percent of Minnesota's 2006 high school graduates took the ACT test in their junior or senior year of high school. Minnesota's average composite score has not increased significantly over the last five years. The average ACT score in 2002 for Minnesota was 22.1.

For more information on national and Minnesota ACT results for the high school class of 2006, visit the Office of Higher Education Web site or ACT

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.

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