ACT scores from Kentucky public schools show slight increase

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The percentage of Kentucky public high school graduates meeting the state’s college readiness benchmarks on the ACT college-entrance exam in English, mathematics and reading saw a slight increase, according to data released Wednesday by ACT.


The state benchmarks represent the minimum scores that guarantee students entry into corresponding credit-bearing courses at Kentucky colleges and universities without the need for developmental education or supplemental courses.


ACT also has its own College Readiness Benchmarks, which are slightly higher than Kentucky’s, and represent the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of receiving a B or higher or a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher in credit-bearing college courses.

 

PERCENTAGES OF KENTUCKY PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADUATES MEETING
COUNCIL ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION STANDARDS FOR COLLEGE READINESS
Standard and Extended Time Students Combined

 

COLLEGE-LEVEL COURSE

BENCHMARK

2016 GRADUATES MEETING BENCHMARK

2017 GRADUATES MEETING BENCHMARK

2018 GRADUATES MEETING BENCHMARK

English

18

57%

56%

57%

Mathematics

19

41%

42%

44%

Reading

20

50%

51%

53%

 

Since Kentucky began administering the ACT, Kentucky public school graduates have registered slight ups and downs in scores from year to year with nearly every subject up overall since 2014.

 

KENTUCKY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES’ AVERAGE ACT SCORES

Standard and Extended Time Students Combined

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

English

19.1

19.2

19.2

19.4

Mathematics

19.3

19.1

19.1

19.4

Reading

20.0

20.2

20.2

20.4

Science

19.8

19.6

19.8

19.8

Composite

19.7

19.7

19.7

19.9

Number taking test

45,162

46,285

46,840

46,988

 

“We are pleased with the increases in ACT scores for the Kentucky class of 2018. Even these modest increases are undoubtedly the result of lots of hard work on the part of students, educators, and parents,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis. “The results also show, however, continued significant disparities between the performance of student groups by race/ethnicity. Eliminating such incredible disparities must become a top education priority for our state.”


The Department of Education says of particular importance is the comparison between the junior and senior class scores of the same school year. Since 2008, all of Kentucky’s public school juniors have participated in the ACT and the cost of the exam is paid for by state funds.


Students who take the test again during their senior year do so voluntarily and at their own expense. According to ACT, students who take the exam multiple times are more likely to improve their test score over time. Additionally, when reporting group or state averages, ACT utilizes the individual’s highest score achieved if they have taken the test multiple times.


Lewis said because some students choose to take the test again in their senior year, it is important to examine Kentucky’s junior scores and the scores for the graduating class.


“Both sets of scores are important, but there is an important difference” Lewis said. “The scores for juniors give us a sense of students’ academic readiness for college at the 11th grade benchmark, while the class of 2018 scores are an indicator of the academic readiness of 2018 graduates, which includes both scores earned on their 11th grade administration of the test as well as higher scores earned by those students who retook the exam an additional time or two during their senior year.”

 

PERCENTAGES OF KENTUCKY PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADUATES AND SENIORS MEETING
COUNCIL ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION STANDARDS FOR COLLEGE READINESS
Standard and Extended Time Students Combined

COLLEGE-LEVEL COURSE

BENCHMARK

2018 JUNIORS MEETING BENCHMARK

2018 GRADUATES MEETING BENCHMARK

English

18

51.2%

57%

Mathematics

19

38.9%

44%

Reading

20

47.1%

53%

 

The Department of Education notes, while composite scores for public school graduates are up from where they were in years past, the numbers illustrate that achievement gaps persist.

GROUP

2015

COMPOSITE

2016

COMPOSITE

2017

COMPOSITE

2018

COMPOSITE

All Students

19.7

19.7

19.7

19.9

African America

16.7

16.8

16.9

16.9

American Indian

17.0

17.3

16.8

16.7

White

20.3

20.3

20.3

20.5

Hispanic

18.4

18.3

18.7

18.5

Asian

22

22.6

22.1

22.9

Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander

18.8

16.6

18.6

17.5

Two or more races

19.8

19.8

19.8

19.9

Prefer not to respond/No response

18.0

17.8

18.0

18.5

Males

19.4

19.5

19.5

19.6

Females

20.0

20.1

20.2

20.3

No Gender Response

16.5

17.4

17.8

16.2

 

Nationally, overall achievement – both the average ACT Composite Score and the percentage of students meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmarks – took a minor dip after a rise in 2017 and 2016.

 

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