2013 ACT Results: 26% of Students Are "College Ready"

ACT exam results from 2013 released on Wednesday showed big room for improvement when it comes to getting high school students ready for college.

The ACT college entrance exam tests high school seniors' knowledge in reading, English, science, and math. Results are reported on a scale from 1 to 36.

Across the country this year, the national average on the test was 20.9, down slightly from 21.1 last year.

In Virginia, the average score amongst students was 22.4.

Students in Harrisonburg and Staunton scored 21.9 and 21.4, respectively. Only 61 students combined, however, took the ACT in the two areas, which school leaders say could have skewed the results.

An area of the Shenandoah Valley that scored particularly well on the ACT exam was Rockingham County. The test was taken by 142 students and the average score was 23.5.

One element that raised attention after the results were released was college readiness.

According to test organizers, a student is deemed "college ready" if they can hit a benchmark in all four categories indicating they have a 75 percent chance of earning a C or better during their freshman year.

Nationally, only 26% of ACT test takers graded out and were considered college-ready.

In Virginia, the average was 37%.

Staunton and Harrisonburg fell below the state mark, but both areas held steady to the national mark with 26% and 27% of students, respectively, hitting all four college-ready benchmarks.

Students in Rockingham County scored 44% on college-ready marks, well above both the state and national average.

The college preparedness numbers are shining light on the high number of students who are not "college ready", according to ACT standards.

ACT organizers say students who fail to reach the benchmarks in the four categories are more likely to struggle in their first year of college.

On Thursday morning, Harrisonburg Assistant Superintendent Patrick Lintner said city students who took more challenging courses had higher scores on the ACT exam.

While the college readiness numbers were low, Lintner explained that the stats are only one indication of college success.

"There's a lot of metrics out there, like AP and dual enrollment participation," he said. "A couple of years ago, Virginia actually put in a place what they call 'College and Career Ready Standards' in both math and English. They're aligned to some of our course work. Those are the things that colleges have told us that are important for students to be successful."

National, state, and local ACT numbers are posted below.

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ACT RESULTS, 2013

NATIONAL:
Participants - 1.8 million
Average Score - 20.9
% of "College Ready" Participants - 26%

VIRGINIA:
Participants - 22, 165
Average Score - 22.4
% of "College Ready" Participants - 37%

LOCAL:
***Harrisonburg***
Participants - 26
Average Score - 21.9
% of "College Ready" Participants - 27%

***Staunton***
Participants - 35
Average Score - 21.4
% of "College Ready" Participants - 26%

***Rockingham County***
Participants - 142
Average Score - 23.5
% of "College Ready" Participants - 44%

Note - ACT results from Waynesboro, Augusta County, Page County, and Shenandoah County have not been received as of this writing.


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