By Ryan Gueningsman
Minnesota High School students achieved the highest average ACT (American College Test) score in the nation in 2008, and it’s safe to say Delano Schools is one of the highest- scoring schools in the state.
On a 36-point grading scale, Delano Schools had a composite score of 24. Minnesota’s 2008 graduating seniors who took the ACT earned an average composite score of 22.6 on the college admission and placement exam, which was higher than last year’s score of 22.5. The average ACT score for the nation is 21.1, out of the possible 36 points.
“Last year’s Delano High School students that took the ACT scored extremely well. This group exceeded the scores of the past five years,” said Delano Schools Superintendent Dr. John Sweet. “The composite score of 24 is excellent, and is evidence of the academic culture that our students, teachers, and parents ascribe to at Delano Schools.”
Sweet said a school-by-school breakdown of the results was not available, but said a composite score of 24 is going to be hard to top.
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test designed to measure the skills and knowledge deemed important for college success.
The ACT is comprised of four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics, and science, plus an optional writing test introduced in February 2005. The ACT is administered in all 50 states and is taken by the majority of graduates in 26 states, including Minnesota.
“The data provided by ACT give us important clues about how to help do even more to prepare our students so they can compete in a global arena,” said Susan Heegaard, director for the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
The data collected by ACT from students indicates a strong correlation between taking a rigorous high school curriculum and higher scores on the ACT.
Minnesota’s results show consistently higher scores in math and science for students who reported taking high-level courses in those subject areas.
For example, the average ACT science score for Minnesota students who took only biology was 19.4, compared to 23.7 for students who took biology, chemistry, and physics in high school.
The Minnesota Legislature recently approved a measure requiring students to take algebra I by eighth grade and algebra II and chemistry, or physics in order to graduate from high school. The new requirement goes into effect for students in the class of 2015.
“The most encouraging news from the 2008 ACT results is that a greater percentage of high school students report taking more core classes in English, science, mathematics and social science,” said Heegaard. “For example, 43 percent of test takers reported taking four years of rigorous science in high school including general science, biology, chemistry and physics, compared with 37 percent of test takers in 2007.
“This indicates students may be making better choices about the courses they take in high school. We want to see more students exposed to challenging coursework all the way to graduation day.”