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Published: Wednesday, 8/15/2007

Ohio ACT scores up; Michigan stands still

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Ohio's average ACT composite score rose slightly for the scholastic class of 2007, following a national trend of increases over the last three years, while the average score in Michigan remained the same, according to a national report to be released today.

Nationally, high-school graduates received an average score of 21.2 on the college admission and placement exam this year, up from 21.1 last year, suggesting that graduates are slightly better prepared for college-level courses.

In Ohio, the average ACT score also rose by one-tenth of a point, to 21.6, and the average score in Michigan remained at 21.5, the ACT National Score Report stated.

A record 1.3 million students took the ACT test during the school year that ended in the spring, with scores improving in all four subject-area tests: English, math, reading, and science.

Each test is scored on a scale of one to 36, and the composite score is the average of all four individually required test scores.

The ACT says one-year trends are not necessarily meaningful, but that the average scoring increase of 0.4 points since 2003 is significant.

"Surely we have a lot of work ahead to be sure all students graduate from high schools with the skills they need to succeed at the next level, but we do seem to be making some encouraging progress," said Richard Ferguson, chief executive officer and chairman of ACT, the Iowa City, Iowa-based nonprofit that owns the exam.

Math and science, the two areas in which students have typically been least prepared for college, have also shown increases in the number of students meeting or surpassing a benchmark score - the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance or higher of getting a B or higher in a related college course.

Students who scored at or above the benchmark score of 22 in math increased for the third consecutive year from 40 percent in 2004 to 43 percent this year.

For the second year in a row, the number of students who scored at or above the benchmark of 24 on the science portion of the ACT also increased from 26 percent in 2005 to 28 percent this year, the report stated.

About two-thirds of Ohio seniors take the ACT and about half of all high schools have an average composite score between 20.1 and 22.1, according to the Ohio Department of Education annual report on education progress released yesterday.

The annual report also stated that advanced-placement courses are offered in about 61 percent of Ohio schools, and 38.4 percent of the participating schools have at least 10 or more students enrolled in the courses, while 22.5 percent of high schools have between one and nine students in the advanced classes.

However, of the students who take advanced-placement courses, about two-thirds of them earn at least a three on a scale of five.



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