While Kansas students beat the national average on the 2015 ACT college entrance exam, the state’s average composite score hasn’t changed much in several years.
The latest composite score — combining English, reading, mathematics and science — for Kansas students averaged 21.9, compared with a national average of 21, according to an ACT report.
The average Kansas student composite scores going back to 2011 have ranged from 21.8 to 22 on a 36-point scale.
The good news, state Department of Education officials said today, is that for the fifth year in a row the state has increased the percentage of its high school graduates who meet ACT’s “college readiness benchmarks.”
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Those benchmarks indicate a 50 percent chance of earning a grade of B or higher and a 75 percent chance of achieving a C or higher in first-year college courses. Thirty-two percent of Kansas test-takers met the benchmarks, compared with 28 percent nationally.
Officials said the test scores show there’s room for improvement and emphasize the importance of students taking core coursework in high school.
“Clearly, we all are proud of the great work our Kansas students, teachers and schools are doing, but it’s important to keep the results of this and any assessment in perspective,” Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said in a statement.
“You are going to hear me say over and over again that assessments are one snapshot in time of a student’s academic readiness for postsecondary pursuits — whether those pursuits lead to college or careers. Academics alone cannot guarantee success,” he said. “We would be doing our kids a disservice to not work equally hard on developing soft skills like persistence, conscientiousness, and teamwork.”