Utah ACT Exam Scores

Utah ACT Exam Participation Up 14 Percent in 2014; Scores Off Slightly

SALT LAKE CITY – In 2015, 40,629 Utah students – 97 percent of them public school students – took the ACT college entrance exam, a 14 percent increase over 2014, but the state saw a drop in its average composite score from 20.8 in 20.2 in that same time period, according to data released today by ACT.

“While I’m pleased to see we’re doing a better job of getting more Utah students to take the ACT, there’s no doubt there is work ahead of us in getting more of those students fully prepared to succeed in college and careers,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brad C. Smith. “It’s great that there are nearly 13,000 Utah students who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors. It concerns me, however, that only 34 percent of our students stand a good chance of earning a B in college math or science courses and that only 23 percent stand a good chance of earning Bs in college math, science, English, and social studies courses. We will be working with our friends in higher education to look more deeply into this data to see how we can improve outcomes for all of our students.”

A 14 percent jump in ACT participation, particularly in light of an overall increase of just 1.7 percent in Utah school population, may be indicative of the state doing a better job of making sure all Utah high school juniors are taking the ACT. The increase may also have impacted scores as more student took the test. 2014 marked the third year Utah paid for all public high school juniors to take the ACT.  Utah is one of 13 states to test all high school juniors on the ACT. Utah ranks fifth among those 13 states for average composite score.

The ACT also sets college benchmarks in core subjects. The benchmark scores represent a level of achievement required for students to have a 50 percent chance of earning a B or a 75 percent chance of a student earning a C in a college-level class. For English the score is 18 and the corresponding college class is English composition. For math, the score is 22 and class is college algebra. For reading the score is 22 and the class is a college social studies course. For science the score is 23 and the class is college biology.

ACT noted:

  • 59 percent of Utah juniors met the benchmark in English.
  • 34 percent met the benchmark in math.
  • 44 percent met the benchmark in reading.
  • 34 percent met the benchmark in science.

For more information about Utah and national ACT results, please visit http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2015/index.html.




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