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Minnesota's ACT scores remain steady, among best in the U.S.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Minnesota's average declined slightly but not enough to alter its best-of-the-nation standing. 

Minnesota students’ scores on the ACT college entrance exam dipped slightly this year but were still higher than those of any other state where nearly all students take the test.

Graduating seniors in the class of 2018 earned an average composite score of 21.3 out of a possible 36, according to test results released Wednesday. That’s down from last year’s state average of 21.5, but still above the national average of 20.8 for the test that measures students’ college readiness in math, reading, science and English.

It was also enough to earn Minnesota a repeat distinction: the highest score out of the 19 states where at least 90 percent of graduates took the ACT. Nearly all Minnesota graduates — 99 percent — took the test this year.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said the state’s scores reveal that 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.”

“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,” she said.

In Minnesota, where the ACT is the most popular college entrance exam, students take the test at a rate well above the national average of 55 percent. Participation here has increased significantly in recent years, pushing the state’s average down. (In 2014, when only 79 percent of Minnesota’s graduating seniors took the test, their average score was 22.9.)

But even with a larger share of students taking the ACT, Minnesota has outperformed national averages on the benchmarks the ACT uses to assess preparedness for college-level courses. Nationwide, 27 percent of students met benchmarks in all four subject areas, compared to 30 percent of Minnesota students.

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