More Utah Students Take ACT but Scores Drop Slightly
The number of Utah high school juniors who took the ACT increased to 97% in 2014. That’s up 14% over the previous year according to data released Wednesday. Rich Nye is associate superintendent of data assessment and accountability with the Utah Office of Education. He says they are excited about the increase.
“Simply because the ACT is offered one day a year that we’re able to give it,” says Nye, “Then there’s a make-up day, so really you’re talking two days.”
Nye says there are concerns though because the average scores are down from 20.8 in 2013 to 20.2 last year.
“We would always like to improve so where we see a 0.6 drop, we have reason to be concerned,” Nye says.
Utah is one of only 13 states that offer the ACT to 100% of the students. It ranks fifth among those states for average composite score. Out of the four categories; English, Math, Reading and Science, Utah juniors were best at English, with 59% meeting the ACT benchmark. Math scores were the lowest of the four at 34%. Nye cautioned about trying to read too much into the numbers. He says it’s important to use multiple indicators for college entrance or career skills.
“And I see the ACT as being but one indicator of college readiness. So although a significant one, there’s a lot of empirical research and studies that go to support it,” says Nye,“it’s certainly just one indicator of whether or not a student is ready.”
Nye says he’s pleased with the heightened awareness of the importance of good ACT scores despite a recent myth to the contrary.