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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

Massachusetts Tops Nation in ACT Math; Ranks Second Overall

MALDEN - Massachusetts earned the highest score of any state on the 2006 ACT math exam, scoring a 23.3 out of a possible 36. The national average on the test was 20.8.

Results released Wednesday showed that the Commonwealth’s class of 2006 scored an average of 23.0 on all four subject matter tests, ranking the state second only to Connecticut.

The ACT assesses high school students’ general educational development and ability to complete college-level work. ACT results are used for college admissions – like the SAT – but primarily by colleges and universities on the West Coast. Because the SAT is more commonly used on the East Coast, a low percentage of the Commonwealth’s students typically participate in the ACT: in 2006, just 13 percent of the senior class participated. In contrast, 86 percent of the Commonwealth’s class of 2005 took the SAT.

“We are always pleased to see positive student results,” said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. “However, these results undoubtedly represent the work of a select few of our top performing students. In a few weeks we will get our SAT results, and that will give us a more complete picture of the class of 2006.”

On the English exam Massachusetts scored a 22.9, ranking second; on the Reading exam Massachusetts scored a 23.4, ranking third; and on the Science exam students scored a 22.0, ranking eighth.

The state’s results on all four ACT tests have either remained steady or improved each year for the past five years. In all 8,865 Massachusetts students participated in 2006, the state’s highest participation in five years.

Based on the benchmark scores set by ACT to determine college readiness, more than half of the ACT-tested students in Massachusetts are ready for college level coursework in English, Reading and Math, but according to results, a low percentage is ready in Science:

  • In English, 83 percent met or surpassed the benchmark. Of the students tested, this includes 28 percent of Black students, 85 percent of white students, 61 percent of Hispanics and 78 percent of Asian students.
  • In Math, 62 percent met or surpassed the college readiness benchmark. This includes 24 percent of Black students, 63 percent of White students, 39 percent of Hispanics and 75 percent of Asians.
  • In Reading, 67 percent met or exceeded the college-ready benchmark, including 33 percent of Blacks, 68 percent of White students, 43 percent of Hispanics and 64 percent of Asians.
  • In Science, 36 percent met or exceeded the college-ready benchmark, including 8 percent of Black students, 37 percent of White students, 16 percent of Hispanics and 40 percent of Asians.

Last Updated: August 16, 2006
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