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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Contact:Jacqueline Reis, 781-338-3115

Massachusetts Students' ACT Scores Top Nation

MALDEN - Massachusetts high school students in the graduating class of 2016 had the highest average composite 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 today.

According to this year's ACT results, Massachusetts 2016 public and private high school graduates who chose to take the ACT had an average composite score of 24.8 out of a possible 36, up from last year (24.4). The national average was 20.8, which fell slightly from last year's 21.0. In addition, 53 percent of Massachusetts graduates met all four ACT college readiness benchmarks, up from 51 percent last year and above the national average of 26 percent.

"We are proud to see that once again, Massachusetts students had the highest ACT scores in the nation," said Governor Charlie Baker. "I congratulate those students, their teachers and their families on their hard work."

"I am pleased to see the Commonwealth's nation-leading results continue to improve, especially the growing percentage of students who met all four of ACT's college readiness benchmarks," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester.

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 tests, either test or neither. Statewide, approximately 20,300 public and private school students, or an estimated 28 percent of the 2016 graduating class, took the ACT during high school. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of ACT-taking graduates in Massachusetts has grown by 32 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 portion of Massachusetts students in the 2016 graduating class who met all four benchmarks was 60 percent for Asian students (compared to 58 percent in 2015), 55 percent for white students (53 percent in 2015), 31 percent for Hispanic/Latino (30 percent in 2015) and 21 percent for black/African American students (17 percent in 2015). The ACT college readiness benchmarks are scores on the ACT subject area tests (English, Reading, Mathematics and Science) that represent the level of achievement for students to 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:

  • Among states where less than a third of graduates participated in the ACT, Massachusetts was followed by New Hampshire (24.5), New York (23.9) and Delaware and Maine (both 23.6).
  • On the four subject-area tests, Massachusetts had the highest percentage of 2016 graduates meeting the reading (71 percent) and math (74 percent) benchmarks and tied with Connecticut and New Hampshire for the highest percentage in science (61 percent). With respect to the English benchmark, both Massachusetts and Connecticut saw 85 percent of their students meet the benchmark, which was second to New Hampshire (86 percent).

Graduates of Massachusetts public high schools performed similarly to the combined results for Massachusetts public and private schools. Massachusetts 2016 public school graduates had an average composite score of 24.6, which was up from last year's 24.1. In 2016, 52 percent of graduates of Massachusetts public high schools who were tested met all four ACT college readiness benchmark scores.

For more information, visit ACT: The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2016.

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Last Updated: August 24, 2016
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