ACT: More Utah high school seniors college ready

August 17, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Peterson, public relations director
(801) 538-7635 ∙

Utah ACT Scores Steady in 2011; College Readiness Among Seniors Increases

SALT LAKE CITY – More Utah high school seniors, and a more diverse group of seniors than ever before, took the ACT college entrance examination during their high school career and their average score held steady at 21.8 for the fourth year in a row, according to data released today by ACT. Utah’s scores continue to outpace the national average, which was at 21.1, ACT reported.

About 73 percent of Utah’s graduating seniors, or 25,161 students, took the ACT during high school. Utah Hispanic student participation in ACT has grown from just 4 percent of test takers in 2007 to 9 percent in 2011. A total of 337 more Utah students took the ACT in 2011 than in 2010.

ACT also calculates “College Readiness Benchmarks,” which it defines as ACT scores that indicate whether high school graduates are likely ready for entry‐level college work in four core subjects, English, reading, mathematics, and science. ACT said 27 percent of Utah high school graduates met all four of those benchmarks, compared to 25 percent nationally. Utah scores also indicate a 1 percent increase in percentage of students who met all four college readiness benchmarks over 2010.

“This is a good progress report,”said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry K. Shumway. “early three‐fourths of our students are taking the ACT. They’e doing better than the national average and more of them are college and career ready than the national average. Is there more to do? Absolutely. There is a lot more to do. Are we making progress? Absolutely.”

The class of 2011 is the first Utah graduating class to be held to the Utah State Board of Education’ new graduation requirements which now include four years of English and three each of math and natural science. The class of 2010 had a minimum requirement of three years of English and two each of math and science.

Here are some additional Utah numbers from ACT:

Average Composite Score by Year
Year    Utah    Nation
2011    21.8    21.1
2010    21.8    21.0
2009    21.8    21.1
2008    21.8    21.1
2007    21.7    21.2

Utah Class of 2011 ACT Composite Scores Disaggregated
Group – Average Score – Average Score 2010
All – 21.8 – 21.8
American Indian – 18.5 – 17.8
Asian – 21.6 – 20.7
Black – 18.2 – 18.1
Hispanic – 18.9 – 18.6
Pacific Islander – 18.0 – N/A
White – 22.3 – 22.2
Unknown/Other – 21.6 – 21.0

Percentage of ACT Taking Students to Meet All Four College Readiness Benchmarks
Year Utah Nation
2011    27    25
2010    26    24
2009    25    23
2008    25    22
2007    24    23

A copy of the national ACT report can be found online at A copy of the Utah report is available at

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