Utah ACT scores top high-participation states


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah students in the Class of 2013 earned the highest average ACT score among the nine states that have statistically full participation in the test, according to data released this week.

The average Utah composite score on the college entrance exam was 20.7 out of a possible 36 points. That’s slightly higher than runner-up Illinois, which averaged 20.6.

At the low end of the nine-state spread is North Carolina, with an average score of 18.7. The average score among the full-participation states is about 19.9.

“What this data says to me is that when you compare Utah’s results with states that have comparable participation, Utahns are getting an extraordinary return on their investment in public education,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Martell Menlove said in a prepared statement. “Utah students, their teachers and their parents can be proud of these results.”

Officials said the score held steady from 2012 to 2013 even after the number of students taking the test increased by 1,700. The average also included, for the first time, the scores of 1,200 Utah students who were given extra time to take the test.

Wider participation can lead to a lower average score, as lower-achieving students who wouldn’t take the test on their own join the pool.

For the past two years, Utah has been participating in a pilot program that encourages all students to take the test, and has paid the fee for students in participating schools.

Beginning this school year, the state will pay for all Utah students in 11th grade to take the exam.

Nationwide, the average ACT composite test score is 20.9, down from 21.1 a year earlier.


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