The 2018 graduating class of students in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas scored among the highest in the nation on the ACT, a college entrance exam.
Minnesota students had the top composite score of 21.3 out of a possible 36 among the states with the highest participation, the national ACT report released Tuesday, Oct. 16, said.
“Thousands of Minnesota students are showing us that they are graduating high school with the skills they need to be successful in their careers or college experiences,” said Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius in a statement. “It is our goal that students are well prepared for their next step in life, whether it is securing their first job or attending the college of their choice. Minnesotans should be very proud of their students and the educators who are helping them succeed.”
Minnesota and Wisconsin were among the 17 states with 100 percent of eligible students taking the ACT.
The national composite score was 20.8, down from 21 a year ago. The national average of eligible students taking the ACT was 55 percent.
In Minnesota, 60 percent met the English benchmark while 48 percent met reading, 47 percent met math and 42 percent met science benchmarks.
The benchmark score in English is 18, 22 for math, 22 for reading and 23 for science.
Twenty-seven percent of all U.S. students met all four benchmarks. Thirty percent of Minnesota graduates met all four ACT college-readiness benchmarks.
Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire led the nation with composite scores over 25, but all three states had 26 percent or fewer eligible students take the test.
In North Dakota, 98 percent of eligible students took the test, scoring a composite 20.3, tied for fourth with Ohio among the 20 states with 89 percent of more eligible students taking the test.
“Overall, we are happy that we’re holding steady,” said Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota superintendent of public instruction.
Baesler said North Dakota is one of 19 states that requires 11th graders to take the ACT, though there are few exceptions, such as students on individual educational plans or if a parent decides not to have their child take the test. Plus, the Legislature provides funding to take the test. These types of test results help direct state educators to where they should focus its time, money and people, she said.
In South Dakota students scored a composite 21.9, however, just 77 percent of eligible students took the test. South Dakota’s composite score ranked first among states where participation was 50 percent or higher.
In North Dakota, the benchmarks were English (57 percent), reading (43 percent), math (39 percent) and science (34 percent).
In South Dakota, 68 percent met English, 54 percent met reading, 49 percent met math and 46 percent met science benchmarks. In Wisconsin, 59 percent met English, 42 met reading, 40 percent met math and 36 percent met science benchmarks.