ANCHORAGE (KTUU) -
(App users, to view the interactive data visualization, follow this link).
Data is sourced from the ACT's 2016 national study, The Conditions of College & Career Readiness.
According to the study, the ACT sources 2016 graduating senior totals from Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates, 8th edition, by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
After taking the ACT, the test-taker's raw score gets converted to a scaled score, which ranges between 1 to 36 points per section. The composite score, again ranging between 1 to 36 points, is determined by averaging the four multiple-choice sections: English, math, reading and science.
Because the ACT writing section is optional, the writing score does not impact the other four subject area scores and composite score. Furthermore, scores from the 2016 ACT writing section are excluded from this data visualization.
Use the interactive data visualization, above, to:
- Compare average ACT scores by states.
- Compare average ACT scores to College Ready Benchmarks, as determined by the ACT.
- Compare average ACT scores to national percentiles of test-takers.
Last year's graduating seniors, Class of 2016, had a national average ACT composite score of 20.8 out of 36 possible points. And according to the ACT, only 64 percent of graduating seniors tested nationwide, including the District of Columbia.
In Alaska, 53 percent of graduating seniors tested, and the state had an average composite score of 20.
Scoring a composite of 20 puts the test-taker at the 50th percentile, according to the ACT.
Furthermore, Alaska tied with Kentucky for the 40th lowest averaged 2016 ACT composite score, nationwide – slightly better than Alaska ranking 47th lowest for averaged 2016 SAT composite score.
The state with the lowest averaged ACT composite score was Nevada, at 17.7. While the state with the highest averaged composite score was Massachusetts, at 24.8.
In order to help determine if graduating students are college ready, the ACT developed College Readiness Benchmarks. The test revised the reading and science benchmarks once, in 2013.
"The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are scores on the ACT subject area tests that represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher, or about a 75 percent change of obtaining a C or higher, in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses," according to the ACT.
Of Alaska's Class of 2016 test-takers, ACT reports that 55 percent met the English benchmark, 37 percent met the math benchmark, 42 percent met the reading benchmark and 31 percent met the science benchmark. Compared to national averages, these benchmark percentages were under-performing, in each test subject.
The states that had higher testing averages and ranks tended to be located along the West Coast and the Northeast. While the states within the middle of the country tended to have mid-range or lower testing averages and ranks. Meanwhile, average performance tended to be opposite, compared to the 2016 SAT testing results.