2017 ACT scores released: Performance and participation vary among states. Relatively few Washington students take the test.

The 2017 ACT scores are out. And, as we reported last year, they don’t tell us much about the how Washington students are doing relative to the nation because of the significant variation in participation. Still, there’s always something to learn from national standardized testing. In many respects, the news is not encouraging.

The ACT press release says,

Underserved students lag far behind their peers when it comes to college and career readiness, and the more underserved characteristics that students possess, the less likely they are to be ready. These findings are reported in The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017, ACT’s annual score report, which was released today.

…Readiness levels have remained fairly steady over the past several years among ACT-tested graduates overall.

Thirty-nine percent of the 2017 graduates met three or four of the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, up from 38 percent in 2016, but down from 40 percent the year before.

The proportion of graduates showing virtually no readiness for college coursework remained sizable. Among 2017 graduates, 33 percent met none of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, suggesting they are likely to struggle in first-year college coursework in all four core subject areas. That compares to 34 percent last year and 31 percent in each of the three previous years.

Education Week reports, highlighting one bit of good news.

Students performed slightly better on the ACT this year than they did last year, and Hispanic students notched a special victory: Their level of college-readiness rose even as more of them took the exam.

The average composite ACT score for the graduating class of 2017 was 21.0, up from 20.8 in the class of 2016, but the same as the classes of 2014 and 2015. Each of the four sections of the ACT—English, reading, math, and science—is scored on a 0-36 scale.

Participation was down this year, Education Week writes, for the first time in 13 years, primarily because Illinois and Michigan switched to the SAT. Nonetheless, a majority of graduating seniors took the test.

Fewer students took the ACT this year: 2.03 million, or 60 percent of the 2017 graduating class, sat for the test.

The state-by-state results show the variation. Just 29 percent of Washington graduates took the exam, scoring overall slightly better than the U.S. average, 21.9 percent here compared with 21.0 nationally. 

We commend the report to your review.