Increase in ACT College Prep Test Takers Leads to Decrease in Scores

Nearly 7,700 more Utah high school students took the ACT last school year than in 2011.

Judy Park, associate state superintendent says that means 97% of 2012 graduates took the college entrance exam… placing Utah among the top ten states for participation.

“The reason we have a larger number is because we have participated in what we call the college and career readiness pilot where the state had taken funding and paid for juniors in participating schools to take the ACT.”

With more students taking the ACT, Utah’s overall score slipped from previous years. Last year the Beehive state averaged 21.8 on a scale of 36. This year, it was 20.7. But even with the decline, Park says Utah is still in a better place than most.

“When you compare Utah to other states with that same high rate of participation we do very very well in fact, there is only one of the ten states that scored a little bit higher than Utah and so I think it is incredible that it is not a bigger drop considering how much the participation increased.”

Ben Horsley, Spokesman for Granite School District praises, the pilot program saying it gives every student more of a chance at attending college.

“It puts them at least in the mindset to think that 'Oh I can go to college. I have the opportunity to go to college, I’ve taken this test which gives me an indication of my preparedness and my ability to proceed and be successful.'"

The increase in participation was especially large for minority groups. The State Office of Education reports the number of Hispanic students who took the exam went up by 76%, while it was 63% for Pacific Islanders.

The cost to take the ACT exam is $35.00. The pilot program will continue this school year.