Data highlight importance of efforts to increase rigorous course taking
Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Minnesota students achieved the highest average ACT score in the nation in 2007, according to results released today by ACT. Minnesota's 2007 graduating seniors who took the ACT earned an average composite score of 22.5 on the college admission and placement exam, which was higher than last year's score of 22.3. The average ACT score for the nation is 21.2 out of a possible 36 points.
Minnesota has led the nation in average ACT sores for three consecutive years.
"Minnesotans can be proud that our students are once again nation-leading on the ACT," said Education Commissioner Alice Seagren. "Working together, we can continue building on our tradition of education excellence in order to take our students from nation-leading to world-competing."
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test designed to measure the skills and knowledge 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 taken by the majority of graduates in 26 states, including Minnesota.
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Minnesota's average score increased despite an increase in the total number of students taking the test. Minnesota's average score improved from 22.0 in 2003 to 22.5 in 2007.
"Clearly, Minnesota is on the right track on the college-readiness front," said Susan Heegaard, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "However, we must not lose sight of the fact that the competition is global. A deeper analysis of Minnesota's ACT test-takers reveals that just 56 percent of all college-bound students are ready for college-level mathematics and 38 percent are ready for college-level science."
The data collected by ACT from students also indicates a strong correlation between taking a rigorous high school curriculum and higher scores on the ACT. Minnesota's results show consistently higher scores in math and science for students who took additional higher level courses in those subject areas. For example, the average ACT science score for Minnesota students who took only biology was 20.1 compared to 24.3 for students who took biology, chemistry and physics.
"The ACT data highlight the need to move forward with Governor Pawlenty's initiatives to improve student achievement through more rigorous course-taking," said Commissioner Seagren.
Governor Pawlenty proposed and the Minnesota Legislature approved a measure to 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 students in the class of 2015.
A new program--called ACHIEVE--proposed and signed into law by the governor in 2007, provides a one-time college scholarship of $1,200 to students who demonstrate they met standards for taking challenging college preparatory courses while in high school. Students have several options for meeting the standard. The scholarship is available beginning with the spring 2008 graduating class to Minnesota residents from families with annual incomes of less than $75,000.
Through the governor's Get Ready-Get Credit initiative, the state assists schools that wish to offer Advanced Placement courses and provides additional funding for testing fees.
For more information on national and Minnesota ACT results for the high school class of 2007, visit the Office of Higher Education at www.ohe.state.mn.us or ACT at www.act.org.