Denise Kahler, Director of Communications (785) 296-4876
August 21, 2013
For Immediate Release
Kansas 2013 ACT college readiness scores hold steady
More students meeting all proficiency standards
TOPEKA – The percentage of Kansas high school graduates meeting college readiness benchmarks in all areas measured on the ACT college entrance exam increased for the third year in a row, while the average composite score decreased slightly.
The number of Kansas high school graduating seniors participating in the 2013 ACT test set an all-time record high, but represented just 75 percent of Kansas high school graduating seniors, which is a decrease from 81 percent in 2012 and 79 percent in 2011. Of those students, 30 percent met college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math and science, (up from 29 percent in 2012 and 28 percent in 2011 and 2010), well ahead of the national average of 26 percent.
The ACT college readiness benchmarks represent scores that would indicate a level of preparation needed to have at least a 50 percent chance of achieving a grade of B or above in entry-level college coursework. ACT noted two reporting changes beginning with the Class of 2013. Students testing with extended-time accommodations are now included, which represented two percent of students tested in Kansas. Additionally, two of the ACT benchmarks have changed: Science went from an average composite score of 24 to 23 while reading went from 21 to 22. These benchmark reporting changes correlate with changes in the percentage of Kansas students meeting reading and science benchmarks.
The percentage of 2013 Kansas graduating students taking the ACT who met college readiness benchmarks in English and math declined only slightly from 2012 (72 versus 73 percent and 51 versus 52 percent, respectively). The most significant decline was in the percentage of Kansas students reported to be meeting reading benchmarks (51 percent in 2013 versus 60 percent in 2012), even though the average composite score remained unchanged at 22.3. Conversely, Kansas experienced the greatest increase (seven percent) in its percentage of students meeting science standards; 42 percent, up from 35 percent in 2012.
“We are pleased with the increased number of Kansas high school graduates now taking the ACT,” said education commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. “This gives us a more complete picture of the college readiness of our students and helps inform state and local education decisions in Kansas. Our students continue to score ahead of the national average and our goal is to continue to increase the number of children meeting and exceeding established benchmarks.”
The average score for Kansas high school graduates in English was 21.2, well above the benchmark of 18. Kansas’ average reading score remained unchanged at 22.3 (three tenths of a percent above the new benchmark). In math, Kansas students’ average score was 21.7, just .03 percentage point below the benchmark of 22, and in science, Kansas students’ average score remained unchanged at 21.7, 1.3 percentage points below the new benchmark of 23.
Overall, the average composite score in the state was 21.8, down a tenth of a percent from 21.9 in 2012, but still trending ahead of the national average, which declined from 21.1 in 2012 to 20.9 in 2013.
In comparing Kansas’ 2013 ACT college readiness scores with those states that also have 75 percent or more of its graduating high school students taking the ACT exam, Kansas’ average composite score of 21.8 ranked second highest. South Dakota reported a composite score of 21.9 and Nebraska reported a composite score of 21.5.
Results of the 2013 ACT exam continue to demonstrate the importance of taking core coursework in high school. Core coursework includes four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies. Statistics show that students who complete core coursework consistently score higher on all areas of the ACT exam than students who do not complete core coursework. In Kansas, 80 percent of the 2013 graduates who took the ACT exam completed core or more coursework in high school and their average composite score was 22.6; 3.5 percentage points higher than those student who had not taken core coursework and 0.8 percentage points higher than the average composite score for all Kansas graduates taking the exam.
More information about Kansas students’ performance on the ACT exam is available at www.act.org.