Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
St. Paul, MNMinnesota's high school graduates continue to lead the nation in ACT scores, according to recently released 2011 ACT test results.
Minnesota's average composite score of 22.9 was the highest in the nation among the 27 states in which more than half the college-bound students took the test in 2011. The national composite score was 21.1, making Minnesota a leader in the average composite ACT scores seven consecutive years.
"Clearly, there is much to celebrate. Our overall ACT results reveal a persistent, positive trend, demonstrating students' capacity to achieve postsecondary success," said Dr. Sheila Wright, Director of the Office of Higher Education. "However, while we have much to celebrate, including in incremental gain in results for African Americans, much more is required to ensure that all students statewide receive equitable support and have what they need for postsecondary attainment. We also need 100% participation in the ACT to fully assess where we are."
The ACT is a leading national indicator of students' college readiness and, in Minnesota, is the most commonly taken standardized college entrance exam. In 2011, 72% of Minnesota's high school graduates took the assessment, a slight increase from 2010. Out of the 29 states in which at least 40 percent of graduates took the ACT, only Minnesota had more than half of its students meet at least three college-readiness benchmarks. In addition, 36% of Minnesota's graduates taking the ACT in 2011 met all four college-readiness benchmarks, which includes assessments of students' performance in English, reading, mathematics and science.
According to Wright, while our overall results are strong, there is still room for improvement, particularly in providing access for all students to take and perform well on the ACT. Greater intentionality and support for students' career and college aspirations are also needed.
"Think about it. In just two years, 70% of the jobs available in Minnesota will require postsecondary education infusing strong technology skills," said Wright. "We have to ask, are we ready for what lies ahead?"