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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112

Massachusetts Students Earn Top Scores on 2009 ACT

MALDEN - The Patrick Administration today announced Massachusetts students in the class of 2009 ranked first nationally and on all four subject area exams on the ACT exam, a test that measures college readiness. Massachusetts students earned average composite score of 23.9 out of a possible 36; the national average composite score was 21.1.

"I am so proud of our students and the teachers who prepare them," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Once again they lead the nation, and we must do all we can to support them and to accelerate our efforts to ensure that every student in every community reaches his or her full potential."

The Governor's Education Action Agenda includes a sharp focus on college readiness through closer collaboration between elementary and secondary education and higher education to ensure students are prepared in high school for the rigors of college.

State education officials praised the results as indicative of the state's strong overall performance and continued gains, but cautioned about drawing too many conclusions, given that more Massachusetts students participate in the SAT exam than the ACT.

The ACT is used primarily for college admissions at schools in other parts of the country, while East Coast colleges look to SAT results for admission purposes. As a result, 76 percent of Massachusetts high school students took the SAT in 2008, as compared to only 18 percent who took the ACT in 2009. SAT officials are expected to release 2009 results next week.

"Continued high marks on national measures like the ACT mean that our students are being well prepared for college success," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "I am very pleased with this year's results, and look forward to seeing the state's performance on the SAT next week."

Since 2008, Massachusetts students improved their performance overall (from 23.6 to 23.9) and on all four subject tests: English (from 23.5 to 23.9), Math (from 23.9 to 24.3), Reading (from 24 to 24.3), and Science (from 22.5 to 22.8).

"The success of our students on the ACT is another example of their efforts, the hard work of our dedicated teachers and our commitment as a state to rigorous standards and intensive support for all students," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "The Patrick Administration is committed to accelerating our efforts to provide an education that will allow all students to achieve at higher levels."

The ACT sets its own benchmarks scores to determine college readiness and attainment of the skills needed to succeed in high school and beyond. According to the 2009 results, 39 percent of Massachusetts students who took the exam met ACT's readiness benchmarks in all four subjects, up from 36 percent in 2008 and higher than the 2009 national average of 23 percent.

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Last Updated: August 19, 2009
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