ACT scores near the worst in nation

Posted By | August 30, 2012 12:00 am

    The national American College Testing (ACT) scores have been released and the results were not good for Tennessee, who tied with two other states for the second worst composite score in the nation with an average composite score of 19.7 out of 36.
    The ACT test, which measures high school educational development and students’ capability to complete college-level work with the multiple choice tests covering English, mathematics, reading, and science, was completed by 100 percent of Tennessee graduates.
Tennessee is one of only nine states that requires students to take the ACT to graduate. Nationally, an average of 52 percent of graduates complete the ACT.
    While 19.7 is an increase in the composite score from 19.5 last year, in 2010 the average composite score was 19.6, in 2009 it was 20.6 and in 2008 it was 20.7.
    When the score is broken down by subject, Tennessee students scored an average of 19.6 in English, 19.1 in math, 19.9 in reading and 19.6 in science.
By race, the average composite scores were 22.4 for Asian, 20.7 for white, 20.2 for multi-racial, 18.1 National American, 18.3 for Hispanic and 6.4 for black students.
    Nationally, students averaged a composite score of 21.1. The average for individual subjects was 20.5 in English, 21.1 in math, 21.3 in reading and 20.9 in science.
    Comparatively, Tennessee scores were tied with Washington D.C. and Arizona as the second lowest in the nation, with only Mississippi scoring lower at 18.7.
    While the state board of education states that the percentage of test takers who met all ACT college readiness benchmarks, which is the percentage of students that had at least a 50 percent chance of scoring a B or higher or 75 percent chance of scoring a C or higher in college courses, rose from 15 percent last year to 16 percent this year, the percentage of students who met these benchmarks two years ago was also 16.
    The test results found that 56 percent of Tennessee graduates met the English readiness benchmarks, 26 percent met math benchmarks, 39 percent met reading benchmarks and 18 percent met science benchmarks.
    Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the test results were the disparity between Caucasian and Asian students when compared to black, Native American and Hispanic students. While 20 percent of white and 34 percent of Asian students met all of the benchmarks, only 3 percent of black, 9 percent of Native American and 11 percent of Hispanic students met all benchmarks.
    The test scores also revealed that 64 percent of Tennessee students scored in the three lowest math score ranges.
    The highest number of students, approximately a third, responded that they hoped to attain careers in health sciences and technologies.
    Students with the highest scores, which averaged 23.8 wanted jobs in English or foreign language.
    The largest number of students, 12,915 students, also reported that they wanted to attend UT Knoxville, with Middle Tennessee State University, UT Chattanooga, University of Memphis and Tennessee Technological University, respectively, following behind.
    While 100 percent of graduates completed the ACT exam, there was a reported 3.7 percent decrease in the number of graduates.

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