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For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Contact:Jacqueline Reis, 781-338-3115

Massachusetts Ties for Top Score on ACT Test

MALDEN - Massachusetts high school students in the graduating class of 2015 tied for the top score in the nation on the ACT test, an annual predictive measure of college and career readiness for many high school graduates, according to results released yesterday.

According to this year's ACT results, Massachusetts 2015 public and private high school graduates had an average composite score of 24.4 out of a possible 36, up from last year (24.3). The national average was 21.0, which remained the same as last year. In addition, 51 percent of Massachusetts graduates met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, up from last year (47 percent) and above the national average (28 percent).

"I congratulate our Commonwealth's students, who continue to lead the country in academic achievement and college readiness," said Governor Charlie Baker. "With our focus on aligning STEM-related education with our workforce needs, I am thrilled to hear that Massachusetts has the highest percentage of 2015 graduates meeting the ACT benchmark in mathematics and is rated highly in science and reading."

"I am pleased to see these results continue to improve, and I am particularly happy to see that more than half of the students included here met all four of ACT's College Readiness Benchmarks," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester. "As districts continue to align their curriculum with the updated state frameworks, more and more students should be prepared for college and careers."

While the majority of Massachusetts graduating seniors have historically taken the SAT, a growing number are taking the ACT. Students can choose to take both test, either test or neither. Statewide, more than 19,600 public and private school students, or an estimated 28 percent of the 2015 graduating class, took the ACT during high school. Between 2011 and 2015, the number of ACT-taking graduates in Massachusetts has grown by 31 percent.

In addition to the state's strong performance in the aggregate, all of the state's largest racial and ethnic groups saw higher percentages meet all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks compared to last year. The percent of Massachusetts students in the 2015 graduating class who met all four benchmarks was 58 percent for Asian students (compared to 53 percent in 2014), 53 percent for white students (50 in 2014), 30 percent for Hispanic/Latino students (29 percent in 2014), and 17 percent for black/African American students (14 percent in 2014). The ACT College Readiness benchmarks are scores on the ACT subject area test (English, Mathematics, Reading and Science) that represent the level of achievement for students who have a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing college courses.

Other ACT results for Massachusetts students included:

  • Overall, Massachusetts tied with Connecticut for the top average composite score (24.4).
  • Among states where less than a third of graduates participated in the ACT, New Hampshire (24.3), Maine (24.2) and New York (23.7) followed closely.
  • On the four subject area tests, Massachusetts had the highest percent of 2015 graduates meeting the ACT benchmark in Mathematics (71 percent), tied Connecticut for second in Science (61 percent) behind New Hampshire (62 percent), tied Maine for second highest percentage in English (85 percent) behind Connecticut and New Hampshire (both with 86 percent), and had the second highest percentage in Reading (67 percent) behind Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine (all 68 percent).

Graduates of Massachusetts public high schools performed similarly to the combined results for Massachusetts public and private schools. Massachusetts 2015 public school graduates had an average composite score of 24.1, which was the same as last year's results. In 2015, 49 percent of graduates of Massachusetts public high schools who were tested met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmark scores.

For more information on ACT, visit


Last Updated: August 27, 2015
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