Kentucky student ACT exam scores reflect mixed results - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky student ACT exam scores reflect mixed results

Updated:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky high school graduates are making "incremental gains" on meeting the state's benchmarks for the ACT college-entrance exam, but they are also falling behind in one key area, according to a news release from the Kentucky Department of Education.

The graduates "held steady" in reading and English, but "lost ground" in meeting the state mathematics benchmark, the release states.

According to Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt, Kentucky still has "some serious work ahead of us" to prepare high school students for college.

"The state benchmarks represent the minimum scores that guarantee students entry into corresponding credit-bearing college courses at Kentucky college and universities without the need for developmental education or supplemental courses," the news release states, noting that ACT has its own College Readiness Benchmarks, which are different from Kentucky's benchmarks.

Nationally, overall achievement -- both the average ACT Composite score and the percentage of students meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmarks -- dropped in 2016. According to the news release, ACT officials attributed this to the significant increase in the percentage of students being tested.

PERCENTAGES OF KENTUCKY PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADUATES MEETING
COUNCIL ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION STANDARDS FOR COLLEGE READINESS
Standard- and Extended-Time Students Combined

COLLEGE-LEVEL COURSE

BENCHMARK

2014 GRADUATES MEETING BENCHMARK

2015 GRADUATES MEETING BENCHMARK

2016 GRADUATES MEETING BENCHMARK

English

18

56.4%

57.2%

57%

Mathematics

19

41.3%

44.5%

41%

Reading

20

48%

49.5%

50%

"From 2011 to 2015, Kentucky public school graduates made gains in every subject, and more than a three-quarter point improvement in the overall composite score," Pruitt said, according to the news release. "This year's results are mixed comparatively. Certainly we would like to see gains each year, but I am encouraged that in two out of the three content areas, Kentucky students sustained the gains we have seen since 2011. As we look to the future, we must recommit ourselves to take each and every student to higher achievement levels."
Additionally, ACT has included scores for students receiving extended-time accommodations. According to the news release, these students "typically register lower test scores than students who do not receive additional time to take the test." Officials say eight percent of Kentucky test-takers receive ACT-approved accommodations, compared with five percent of students nationally.

KENTUCKY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES’ AVERAGE ACT SCORES

Standard- and Extended-Time Students Combined

2013

2014

2015

2016

English

18.7

19.0

19.1

19.2

Mathematics

18.9

19.1

19.3

19.1

Reading

19.5

19.9

20.0

20.2

Science

19.4

19.7

19.8

19.6

Composite

19.3

19.5

19.7

19.7

Number taking test

45,052

44,558

45,162

46,285

The summary also breaks the composite scores down by various groups:

2013 - 16 KENTUCKY PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADUATES’ ACT COMPOSITE SCORES

BY ETHNIC GROUP AND GENDER
Standard- and Extended-Time Students Combined

GROUP

2013

COMPOSITE

2014

COMPOSITE

2015

COMPOSITE

2016

COMPOSITE

All Students

19.3

19.5

19.7

19.7

African American

16.3

16.7

16.7

16.8

American Indian

16.7

16.7

17.0

17.3

White

19.8

20.1

20.3

20.3

Hispanic

18.0

18.5

18.4

18.3

Asian

21.4

22.8

22.0

22.6

Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander

18.5

18.2

18.8

16.6

Two or more races

19.4

19.7

19.8

19.8

Other/No Response

18.1

17.9

18.0

17.8

Males

18.9

19.2

19.4

19.5

Females

19.6

19.9

20.0

20.1

No Gender Response

15.6

15.6

16.5

17.4

Pruitt said it is important that the state close achievement gaps so that each student has a chance to graduate college- and career-ready.

"In Kentucky, we are working to move each child to higher levels of learning, while also determining the root cause of achievement gaps, which we believe stem from opportunity gaps and access to rigorous, high-quality learning opportunities," Pruitt said, according to the news release. "Students excel when presented with challenging and interest-driven projects or instruction. That is true for all students, both advanced and less advanced. We must make sure that low-income and minority students have the same opportunities to excel as their classmates."
"The achievement gap is something we all have to own," he added. "Until we all share responsibility, we won't see the change we want to see."
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