CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming students achieved no gains in ACT scores over last year, and that’s not good enough for the state’s education official.
“We are not satisfied, [and] there is a lot more work to be done,” said Cindy Hill, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The average composite score held at 20.3 for the 5,527 Wyoming students who took the ACT earlier this year, according to the Wyoming Department of Education.
Wyoming tests all high school juniors, so it can be misleading to compare those scores to other states where students choose to take the ACT, often as seniors, Hill said. The states with the highest average scores don’t test all of their students. In the top-scoring states, nine to 27 percent of the students chose to take the test.
However, Hill said that’s not an excuse, and scores still must improve in Wyoming.
Of nine states that test 100 percent of 11th-grade students, Wyoming is fourth, just behind Colorado, which averages 20.6. Illinois tops that list of nine with an average score of 20.9 for the ACT.
Besides average scores, ACT tracks benchmark scores for states.
A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of earning a C or higher in related college freshman courses, according to the 2012 ACT report available at www.act.org.
In Wyoming, 60 percent of students met the benchmark for English, down slightly from 61 percent last year. Reading also declined from 49 to 46 percent of students reaching the benchmark.
In math, the benchmark percentage increased from 36 to 38 percent, and 28 percent of Wyoming students met the benchmark in science this year compared with 24 percent last year.
In Wyoming, 20 percent of students reached the benchmark in all four subjects. Of the nine states where all junior students take the ACT, Wyoming is fifth in students who meet all the benchmarks. Colorado and Illinois both top those nine states in meeting all four benchmarks with 25 percent of students indicated to have a 75 percent chance of earning at least C’s.
The results in the report represent students’ most recent, not the highest, ACT scores. Colleges consider each student’s highest ACT score, while the ACT report tracks only each student’s most recent score regardless of what grade they are in.
Many students take the test multiple times.