News

For Immediate Release
August 17, 2011

Illinois ACT score remains at top of the class for states that test at least 90 percent of students


State posts long-term incremental growth

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced the graduating Class of 2011’s composite ACT score is the highest of the 10 states that test 90 percent or more of their students. Additionally, Illinois’ composite score of 20.9 continues the state’s long-term trend of incremental improvement.

“The ACT is a benchmark that helps us determine if students are not just ready to enter college but to succeed there,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “As we move forward with our new more rigorous learning standards in Illinois, we expect that more students will be prepared to excel in college and careers. ACT data shows the importance of taking challenging core classes in high school for a smooth transition to college and beyond.”

Although ACT is designed for students who plan to attend college, Illinois requires all 11th graders, unless they’re exempt, to take the ACT as part of the required state testing under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Illinois’ composite average of 20.9 is the highest among the 10 states in which 90 percent or more graduates tested. Other states with 90 percent or more of their graduates taking the ACT include Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.

In 2011, 144,469 students included in the Class of 2011 took the ACT, up by nearly 4,000 students since 2008 when 140,483 students took the test. Illinois first required all students to take the ACT in 2001 as part of the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) during students’ junior year. Today’s results represent the latest scores achieved by all Illinois 2011 graduates in both public and private schools.

Illinois’ average ACT composite scores for the past five years has improved, rising from 20.5 in 2007 to 20.9 in 2011. Nationally, there has been a slight dip in the composite score from 21.2 in 2007 to 21.1 in 2011. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score.

Five-Year Trend Composite Scores
2007
2011
Illinois
20.5
20.9
National
21.2
21.1

The year-to-year composite score for Illinois students mirrored the national average with a slight increase from 2010 to 2011.

Year-to-Year Composite Scores
2010
2011
Illinois
20.7
20.9
National
21.0
21.1

Illinois students have made gains in all four subject areas from 2007 to 2011.

Five-Year Subject Area Scores
Subject
2007
2011
English
20.2
20.6
Mathematics
20.4
20.9
Reading
20.5
20.8
Science
20.4
20.7

In 2010, Illinois adopted the internationally benchmarked Common Core Learning Standards in English and Math for grades K-12. The Standards, written under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) aims to better prepare students for college and career.

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