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A regional public media collaboration serving the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Mountain West ACT Test Scores Mixed

Jeso Carneiro
Flickr Creative Commons

State rankings are out for 2019 ACT test scores. For the Mountain West, it’s a mixed bag.


Before getting into rankings, it’s important to note that some states require the ACT and others don’t. So while Nevada has the worst ACT test scores nationally, it also has 100% participation. That said, it still had the worst ACT average among the 15 states where all students take the test.

Nevada Department of Education spokesperson Greg Bortolin said they’re working to improve, and have seen an uptick in the last few years.

“There’s some satisfaction there. We’re not satisfied with our results, and we’re looking for a way to get better faster,” he said.

Colorado was the highest-ranking Mountain West state, though only 27% of students took it there. Next was Utah, which tied with Wisconsin as the highest-ranked state among those where all students take the test.

The full report and recommendations, called The Condition of College & Career Readiness, is available here.

Here are some things to know about testing in states around the region:

  • Idaho scored above national averages for the ACT. But only about a third of students there took it. All Idaho high schoolers do take the SAT, and for that test the state ranked 7 out of 8 states who require it in the U.S.

  • Nevada’s overall scores went up marginally this year. The state is reviewing whether it’ll change tests when the ACT contract comes up for bid in the next two years. Many critique the test, and several colleges have stopped requiring either ACT or SAT for admittance.

  • Utah performed well compared to other states that required the test. It was also a top performer in the SAT, though only about 4 percent of Utah students took that test last year.

  • While only about a third of Colorado students took the ACT, all take the SAT. It was a top performer in that test as well, ranking second out of eight states that require the test.

  • All Wyoming and Montana students take the ACT. Among the 15 states that also require it, Wyoming and Montana tied for the fifth highest score alongside Kentucky.

Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter @MadelynBeck8

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.


Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Madelyn Beck is a regional Illinois reporter, based in Galesburg. On top of her work for Harvest Public Media, she also contributes to WVIK, Tri-States Public Radio and the Illinois Newsroom collaborative.
Madelyn Beck
Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. She's from Montana but has reported everywhere from North Dakota to Alaska to Washington, D.C. Her last few positions included covering energy resources in Wyoming and reporting on agriculture/rural life issues in Illinois.
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