Minnesota students continue to outperform the nation on ACT test

Published 7:51 pm Thursday, October 18, 2018

Minnesota students again topped the nation on the ACT college entrance exam, among the 19 states where 90 percent or more students took the college entrance exam, earning a composite score of 21.3. Nationally, 55 percent of 2018 graduates took the ACT, earning an average composite score of 20.8.

According to a press release, Minnesota’s overall score was down 0.2 points from 2017, but up slightly from 2016, when Minnesota first opened access to 17,000 additional students by providing the test to juniors in high schools statewide.

“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 Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

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“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.”

In 2018, 30 percent of Minnesota graduates met all four ACT college-readiness benchmarks, compared to 27 percent of students nationally, meaning they are likely prepared for the rigor of college-level coursework. Also in 2018, 28 percent of Minnesota students were likely to attain the Gold ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate or higher, compared to 26 percent nationally. Earning a gold certificate translates to having the skills for 93 percent of jobs from the ACT JobPro database, which has over 21,000 jobs profiled.

ACT’s report also shows that 27,188 of Minnesota’s 2018 graduates taking the ACT two or more times had an average composite score of 23.7, which is 4.4 points higher than the 34,065 graduates who took the test only once.

While Minnesota schools offer the ACT at no cost to students who are unable to pay, ACT also provides fee waivers to students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, which would cover the cost for those wishing to take it again and better their score. Yet, more than a quarter (27 percent) of Minnesota students who qualified for fee waivers did not use them.

“In Minnesota, we have worked to eliminate barriers between our students and access to postsecondary education,” continued Cassellius.

“I’d like to see more students taking advantage of these fee waivers to improve their scores significantly by taking the test a second time without incurring any fees. This is important to improve equitable access to career and college for all Minnesota students. It is my hope that more schools will encourage students to take it again in their senior year after they have another year or two of learning under their belts.”