ACT scores lower, but more students college-ready

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The average composite score for Louisiana students taking the ACT college readiness test dropped from 20.3 in 2012 to 19.5 for 2013, but the number of students who scored well enough to attend college without remedial work increased by 3,600.

The figures show results for the first year that all Louisiana high school students were required to take the ACT — regardless of whether they expressed intent to go to college.

The state education department says 45,303 public and private school students took the test this year, an increase of 8,569 students.

Louisiana joined the ranks of states requiring students to take the ACT because it provides students with an opportunity to measure educational progress and college readiness, while helping the state measure schools’ effectiveness.

The figures were released early Wednesday.

The state Department of Education noted that the overall drop in average composite ACT scores in Louisiana, .08 percent, was less than six other states experienced the first year they required 100 percent participation in the ACT. All of those states experienced an average drop of 1 percent of more.

Superintendent of Education John White said the results mean many students who might not otherwise have considered college now may go on to pursue a two-year or four-year degree.

Many will be eligible for aid through the state’s TOPS tuition plan, he added.

He downplayed the drop in the average composite score from 2012, when fewer students took the test, to 2013. “I would argue that it’s not an apples to apples comparison,” he said.

“We think it’s worth it when 3,600 kids end up eligible for college,” he said of the ACT requirement.