ACT Report for Class of 2013 Released


Wednesday, August 21, 2013
By Billie LeDeau
(406) 444-5658

ACT Report for Class of 2013 Released
Next Year’s Results Will Include Universal Testing of the Class of 2014

HELENA - Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau reported today that a record number of students took the ACT in the Class of 2013. Montana's 2013 graduating class earned an average composite score of 21.3 compared to the national composite score of 20.9. Among Montana’s 2013 high school graduates, 72 percent – a total of 6,631—of high school graduates took the ACT, an increase of 607 students or 11 percent from 2012.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said, "Access to higher education is critical not only for individuals, but for the future economic success of Montana. We continue to seek out ways to improve student achievement and work with our partners in higher education to boost college-readiness and offer opportunities for students to gain access to college-level courses while they are in high school."

The increased number of students taking the ACT in the Class of 2013 is due to the pilot test of universal ACT testing for high school juniors in 2012. Through the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education’s Montana GEAR UP grant, every public school junior in 2013 had the opportunity to take the ACT plus writing at no cost to their families. This means nearly 100 percent of the Class of 2014 will have taken the ACT.

"Giving all students the chance to see if they are ready to take that next step into college or if they need to adjust their coursework during their senior year in order to get ready is going to pay off for our students and their families. Additionally, providing the ACT to every junior will give us a complete picture of how well our K-12 public education system is preparing all students for life after high school,” said Superintendent Denise Juneau.

The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is engaged in several strategies to boost college-readiness, allow students to earn college credits while in high school and to improve access to higher education for Montana students.

  • Superintendent Juneau, Governor Bullock, and Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian are working together to expand access to dual credit opportunities for all Montana students, allowing students to earn college credits while in high school, making college more affordable and the idea of college more attainable.
     
  • The OPI has developed Big Sky Pathways, which creates course pathways from high school to college-level certificate and associate degree opportunities. The program increases student awareness of careers and the education and training needed to attain those careers.
     
  • Superintendent Juneau recommended and the Board of Public Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Math. These standards are higher and clearer than our current standards and aligned with college and workforce expectations.

The full report on the condition of college and career readiness in Montana for the class of 2013 can be viewed here: http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2013/states/pdf/Montana.pdf.

BACKGROUND:

About the ACT
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement assessment that measures the skills taught in schools and deemed important for success in first-year college courses. The content of the ACT is informed by results of ACT’s exclusive National Curriculum Survey®, which is conducted every three to four years among thousands of elementary, middle and high school teachers and instructors of first-year college courses across the United States. The data obtained in the survey allow ACT to ensure that its assessments measure the skills most important for success after high school.

The national and state ACT Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013 reports can be viewed and downloaded for free on the ACT website at the following URL:  www.act.org/readiness/2013.

Changes in Report Composition
The report notes some changes that affect the ability to make direct comparisons in some areas.

ACT updated the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks this year to ensure that they remain reflective of college success. These updates were based on gradual changes identified through ACT’s routine practice of monitoring the predictive validity of the ACT. As a result, two benchmark scores were adjusted:  The benchmark score in reading went up by 1 point on the 1 to 36 scoring scale, while the score in science went down by 1 point. The English and math benchmarks remained the same.

In addition, college-reportable scores for all accommodated students were included in the ACT report this year for the first time. In prior years, scores for students receiving time-extended accommodations were not included in the summary reporting.

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