REPORT: Louisiana is Number One State in Annual ACT Gain

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ACT today released its annual “Condition of College & Career Readiness” report, providing a view of Louisiana’s progress in the second year since all of the state’s high school students have been counted in the report, and providing a comparison with performance in states nationwide.

The report indicates the state’s gain of 0.2 points in the average student’s score topped all states testing 100 percent of students. Louisiana’s performance ranked it third among six such southern states.

“Our students are as smart and capable as any in America,” said State Superintendent John White. “We have raised expectations for students and schools.

We have increased Advanced Placement and early college courses. We have ended the stigma against career education.

The plan is working. More graduates than ever before have the opportunity to go to college, to pursue a career, and ultimately to provide for families of their own here at home. Now we have to keep it going. We cannot stop here.”

July Release: “Average Best Score” Methodology (public school students)

The report released today builds on a Department of Education report released in July indicating the number of public school students achieving a college-going ACT score had increased by more than 6,300 since 2012.

In calculating the July figures, the Department uses public school students’ highest scores throughout their academic career, not the most recent score at the time of the report.

Because colleges and TOPS likewise use this “best score” method, Louisiana encourages students to take the test more than once, funding three test administrations for low-income students free of charge.

August Release: “Most Recent Score” Methodology (public and private school students)

Unlike the “best score” calculation used by colleges and for school letter grades, ACT calculates Louisiana’s average score for all public and private school students anticipating graduating in 2015 using a student’s “most recent score.”

For the class of 2015, Louisiana’s average “most recent score” increased from 19.2 in 2014 to 19.4 in 2015.

This year marks the second year in which the report counts all eligible students. In 2013, Louisiana required all juniors to take the ACT for the first time.

Thus, the 2014 school year, when 2013 juniors would typically graduate, formed a baseline year, bringing Louisiana into line with 12 other states requiring the test for all juniors.

In 2015, the 0.2 point gain in the average composite score, from 19.2 in 2014 to 19.4 is the largest among all states testing 100 percent of students.

The 19.4 composite puts Louisiana third out of six southern states testing 100 percent of students, trailing Kentucky (20.0) and Tennessee (19.8) and ahead of Alabama (19.1), Mississippi (19.0), and North Carolina (19.0).

Large Gains in College Readiness Benchmarks

The increase in average composite score is driven by significant increases in the number of Louisiana students meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, the subject-specific scores which are indicators of college readiness.

In English, 59 percent of students achieved the benchmark score of 18 or higher, and increase of three percentage points from 2014. Likewise, African-American students meeting the benchmark increased three percentage points to 37 percent.

The percentage of all students achieving the science benchmark score of 23 increased three percentage points to 27 percent, while African-American students also saw a 3 percentage point increase.

Expanding Opportunity for Graduates

Today’s gains add to an ongoing story of increased opportunity for high school students and graduates in Louisiana.

– Record Number of Students Completing High School: In 2014, the state’s four-year high school graduation rate increased for the fourth straight year to a record high of 74.6 percent. Nearly 1,600 more students graduated in 2014 than in 2013.

– Record Number of Students Achieving Advanced Placement Credit: Louisiana students earned nearly 1,300 more qualifying scores on Advanced Placement exams in 2015 than in 2014, increasing from 6,410 in 2014 to 7,703 in 2015, a 20 percent increase. Since 2012, the number of qualifying scores has increased 87 percent, from 4,112.

– Record Number of Students Entering College: The number of recent high school graduates who enrolled in college has grown significantly, with 22,972 members of the class of 2014 enrolled in college, an increase of 16 percent over the class 2012.

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