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August 18, 2010 - Oklahoma Sees Gains in ACT Science Scores

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Oklahoma high school seniors who took the ACT test last spring showed modest gains in science over their 2009 state counterparts, a new report shows.

Data released today by ACT indicates that this year’s senior class scored an average of 20.6 in science on the ACT test, which is 0.1 point higher than last year’s score.

This compares to a national average of 20.9 in science. The national average in science remained unchanged from last year.

The report shows that this year’s senior class scored an average of 20.7 on the ACT test, unchanged from the previous three years. The national average for 2010 graduates was 21.0, a 0.1 point decrease from 2009.

“These findings are encouraging and suggest that more Oklahoma students are graduating from high school with the academic skills they need to be successful in college and today’s global economy,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “It is important that we continue to challenge students to take more rigorous courses in high school in preparation for college.”

The state’s scores in math remained unchanged from last year’s score of 19.9. The state’s English score, 20.4, and reading score, 21.2, decreased by 0.1 point and 0.2 point respectively.

Oklahoma’s three largest groups of minority students continue to perform above their national peers. Native Americans have outscored their national counterparts for the last five years. The composite ACT for Native Americans in Oklahoma is 19.6 for 2010, which is 0.6 point higher than their national peers. African Americans scored 0.3 point higher than their national peers in 2010. Hispanic graduates outscored their national peers by 0.1 point. In 2010, minorities accounted for 36 percent of Oklahoma test takers.

The total number of Oklahoma students taking the ACT was 28,343, a 4.8 percent increase from last year. More than 70 percent of the Oklahoma graduating class of 2010 took the ACT compared to the 47 percent of graduates tested nationally.

The percent of Oklahoma graduates who are ready for college coursework is higher compared to five years ago in all four subject areas tested – English, mathematics, reading and science.

Although the state is making great strides by preparing students for higher education, many Oklahoma students fail to meet ACT’s benchmark scores that measure the number of graduates likely to be prepared for college-level work. As few as 19 percent of students met all four of ACT’s benchmark scores in English, college algebra, social science and biology. This is 5 percentage points below the national average.

However, much is being done to improve student academic preparation by requiring students to take a more rigorous curriculum in response to the Achieving Classroom Excellence initiative and the Oklahoma Educational Planning and Assessment System (OK EPAS) program. Oklahoma EPAS EXPLORE-tested eighth-graders’ scores exceed the national norm in reading by 0.5 percentage points, and science by 0.1 percentage points.