MT Students Continue to Score Higher than the National Average on ACT Exams

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
By Allyson Hagen

MT Students Continue to Score Higher than the National Average on ACT Exams
Multiple Efforts Underway to Continue to Boost College-Readiness

HELENA - Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau reported today that Montana students continue to best the national average when it comes to ACT scores.  Montana's 2012 graduating class earned an average composite score of 22 compared to the national composite score of 21.1.  The percent of ACT-tested Montana graduates who are ready for college coursework in mathematics, reading, and science is higher compared to five years ago.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said, "Public education in Montana is doing very well as demonstrated by our outcomes, including the ACT. 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."

Among Montana’s 2012 high school graduates, 61%—a total of 6,024 students—took the ACT. Last year, 60% of Montana's graduates took the ACT. These students continue to perform above the national average in all four subject areas.

Thirty percent met or surpassed all four of ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks (English, math, reading, and science). This figure is up from 29 percent last year and from 26 percent in 2008.

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.

  • Starting next year, all public high school juniors will have access to the ACT plus writing exam at no cost to their families for the next five years through OCHE's Montana GEAR UP grant. ACT testing will occur in schools, during the school day.
  • OPI has developed Big Sky Pathways which creates course pathways from high school to college-level certificate and associate degree opportunities. This alignment between high school and higher education allows students to earn college credits while in high school, making college more affordable and the idea of college more attainable. The program increases student awareness of careers and the education and training needed to attain those careers. The planning process at the core of this program is the Montana Career Information System (MCIS).
  • In the fall of 2011, 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 2012 can be viewed here:


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