One-third of Md. students who took ACT seen as college-ready

State exceeds national average

August 18, 2010|By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun

About a third of Maryland students who took the ACT last year are considered ready to be successful at college-level work, far higher than the national average of 24 percent, according to results released Wednesday.

The number of students in the state taking the ACT has grown to 18 percent of graduates, and that percentage held steady last year. Students preparing to go to college can choose to take the ACT or the SAT; far more of the state's students take the SAT.

Mary Gable, assistant state superintendent for academic policy, said the results are encouraging because even as the number of students in the state taking the test has risen over the years, so has the percentage who are considered prepared to go to college.

Nationally, the percentage of students ready for college has not gone up as quickly, according to the Educational Services, the Iowa test maker.

In order to be deemed prepared, a student must meet a minimum score on each of the four sections: English, algebra, social sciences and biology.

The average composite score in the state was 22.3 out of a possible perfect score of 36. The national average is 21. Five Maryland students got a perfect score.

Across the nation, the average composite score has remained relatively flat.

There are significant achievement gaps between white and minority students. Only 14 percent of African-American test-takers obtained the minimum scores to ensure that they were ready to go to college; 62 percent of whites who took the test were considered prepared.

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