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N.D. Composite ACT Scores Rank Above Average

Seventy-one percent of ACT-tested 2010 North Dakota high school graduates were ready for college English, 48 percent for math, 56 percent for reading and 31 percent were for science.

Of the North Dakota high school graduates who took the American College Testing (ACT) examination, the average composite score in 2010 was 21.5 out of a possible 36. This score is relatively unchanged from 2009.

Nationally, the composite score for ACT-tested 2010 graduates was 21.

This month’s “Population Bulletin,” a monthly publication from the North Dakota State Data Center at North Dakota State University, focuses on ACT scores released by ACT Inc., which are designed to predict a student’s potential for success in college.

According to ACT, 80 percent of 2010 North Dakota graduating seniors took the ACT assessment during their sophomore, junior or senior year. If a student was tested more than once, only the most recent test record was used. Nationally, 48 percent were tested.

The ACT program has developed benchmarks to measure what it takes to be successful in standard first-year college courses in the areas of English, math, reading and science. A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher grade or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college courses, which include English composition, algebra, social science and biology.

According to these benchmarks, 71 percent of ACT-tested 2010 North Dakota high school graduates were ready for college English, 48 percent for math, 56 percent for reading and 31 percent were for science.

North Dakota students who added at least one additional course of advanced math, such as trigonometry or calculus, to their core requirement of algebra I, algebra II and geometry increased their likelihood of college readiness in math from 26 to 68 percent.

Similarly, in the sciences, North Dakota students who added physics to their general core of general sciences, biology and chemistry increased their likelihood of college readiness in science from 30 to 48 percent.

“The data are very convincing,” says Richard Rathge, State Data Center director. “If we want to increase our students’ probability of success in college, we need to increase their exposure to subject matter. This should be a collaboration with parents/guardians encouraging their children to take more classes and school officials optimizing the number and diversity of courses students can take.”

The proportion of North Dakota students who met all four benchmarks was 24 percent. This proportion has remained relatively unchanged through the past several years.

Analysis of North Dakota ACT scores reveals a disparity in college readiness by gender, race, and county. Of the ACT-tested 2010 North Dakota male high school graduates, 27 percent met all four subject-area benchmarks, compared with 21 percent of female students.

An even greater disparity exists among racial groups. Twenty-six percent of white students met all four benchmarks, compared with 35 percent Asian, 21 percent Hispanic and 4 percent American Indian.

In terms of geography, three counties had at least one in three ACT-tested graduates meeting all four benchmarks. Three counties had less than one in 10.


NDSU Agriculture Communication – June 7, 2011

Source:Richard Rathge, (701) 231-8621, richard.rathge@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
Attachments
ACT Statistics By County Preview
(0607 population bulletin.pdf - 182.74 Kb)
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