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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106

Massachusetts Students Outscore Peers on 2008 ACT

MALDEN - The 17 percent of students in the class of 2008 who participated in the 2008 ACT exam outscored their peers nationally, earning an average composite score of 23.6 out of a possible 36 and ranked first on three of the four subject area exams. The national average was 21.1.

Education officials hailed the results but cautioned against drawing too strong a conclusion from them because of the state's low participation rate. The ACT is used for college admissions at schools in other parts of the country, but schools on the East Coast more typically look to SAT results for admissions purposes. As a result, 82 percent of Massachusetts high schoolers took the SAT in 2007, as compared to the 17 percent who took the ACT in 2008.

"Positive student results are always welcome, but we recognize that these represent the work of a small group of our students who are planning to attend college elsewhere in the country," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "In a few weeks we will receive our SAT results, and that will provide a more complete picture of the class of 2008."

On the ACT, Massachusetts ranked first on three of the four subject matter exams, including English with an average score of 23.5, Math with an average score of 23.9, and Reading with an average score of 24. On the science exam, Massachusetts ranked second (22.5) behind New York (22.8).

The ACT sets its own benchmark scores to determine college readiness and attainment of the skills needed to succeed in high school and beyond. According to their results, 36 percent of the Massachusetts students who took the exam in 2008 met ACT's college readiness benchmarks in all four subjects, compared to 22 percent of students nationally.

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Last Updated: August 13, 2008
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