FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky public high school graduates have improved from 2017 in both college readiness benchmarks for English, mathematics and reading as well as average scores for all categories, according to data released by ACT.
State benchmarks represent the minimum scores students need to get in order to be granted entry into credit-bearing courses at Kentucky colleges and universities without the need for any supplemental courses or developmental education. English, math and reading all saw an increase of at least 1 percent from 2017 to 2018.
Since the ACT first became the norm for Kentucky, Kentucky public high school graduates have had slight ups and downs in scores from year to year. Nearly all subjects have been up overall since 2014.
Since 2008, all Kentucky public school juniors have participated in the ACT and the exam cost is covered by state funds. Tests taken their senior year are not required and up to the student. According to ACT, students who take the test multiple times are more likely to seeing improvement in their score over time. When reporting on group or state averages, ACT uses the highest score if they have taken the test multiple times.
Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said it is important to examine scores from both student’s junior and senior years, because of the option to take the best multiple times.
“Both sets of scores are important, but there is an important difference,” Lewis said. “The scores for juniors give us a sense of students’ academic readiness for college at the 11th grade benchmark, while the class of 2018 scores are an indicator of the academic readiness of 2018 graduates, which includes both scores earned on their 11th grade administration of the test as well as higher scores earned by those students who retook the exam an additional time or two during their senior year.”
Despite efforts to bridge the gaps between students of different races and genders, the gaps still remain.
"We are pleased with the increases in ACT scores for the Kentucky class of 2018. Even these modest increases are undoubtedly the result of lots of hard work on the part of students, educators, and parents,” Lewis said. “The results also show, however, continued significant disparities between the performance of student groups by race/ethnicity. Eliminating such incredible disparities must become a top education priority for our state.”
Nationally, overall achievement – both the average ACT Composite Score and the percentage of students meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmarks – took a minor dip after a rise in 2017 and 2016.