Austin’s ACT scores dip as more students take exam

Published 10:42 am Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Austin Public Schools students on average didn’t do as well on ACT tests this past year. Yet district officials are pleased with the results, as all eligible juniors and about 70 high school seniors took the ACT.

Though district averages were not available as of press time, district officials had expected a dip in student scores with the increase in student participation, according to Educational Services Director John Alberts.

Austin High School principal Brad Bergstrom said all eligible students will take the ACT test next year, including the writing portion. The increased student participation will allow district officials to better gauge an Austin student’s college and career readiness, as well as allow students to gauge where their strengths are.

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“This is a step in the right direction,” Bergstrom said.

The state remains best in the nation on the ACT test for the eighth consecutive year. Minnesota high school seniors scored higher than those in other states in which at least half of students took the exam. Thirty-nine percent of seniors are proficient across the board, compared to 36 percent in 2012.

Minnesota’s average composite score was 23 out of a possible 36.

About 74 percent of Minnesota students took the ACT last year. Minnesota’s average composite score was 23 out of a possible 36, higher than the 20.9 national average. Seventy-eight percent of Minnesota students met the ACT’s English benchmark, while 62 percent met math requirements and 52 percent met science standards. Only 57 percent met the ACT’s reading requirements, however.

Lower-income students and students of color continue to do worse on the ACT than white students. About 61 percent of white students met three or more ACT benchmarks, while about 36 percent of Asian students, 34 percent of Latinos, 29 percent of Native Americans and only 16 percent of black students did the same.

Nationally, Asian students on average outperformed white students by more than one point. Black, Native American and Latino students scored on average four to six points lower overall than white students. The majority of Minnesota’s students of color outperformed their national counterparts.


—The Associated Press contributed to this report.