Today, ACT released the 2015 Condition of College and Career Readiness report, based on ACT test results for the 2015 graduating class. Utah is one of 13 states that allows students to take the ACT for free during their junior year; thus, 40,629 students in the 2015 graduating class have taken the ACT. More students than ever took the ACT last year nationwide.
Why is the ACT important to higher education?
The ACT is one of the strongest and most used indicators of college readiness across the country. ACT sets college readiness benchmarks, which are strong indicators of a student’s likelihood of success for entry into college level courses in the core areas of math, science, reading, and English. Colleges and universities throughout Utah and the country often use the college readiness benchmarks by subject as one way to determine a student’s placement in college courses in math, science, and writing.
The USHE-recommended high school courses are proven to best help students be college ready.
The latest ACT report indicates Utah System of Higher Education (USHE)-recommended courses for college preparation, via Utah Scholars and the Regents’ Scholarship, most help Utah students be college ready:
- 4 years of progressive math: Utah students who took four years of math in high school had the highest percentage of Utah test takers who met the ACT college readiness benchmark for math.
- 3 years of lab-based science: Utah students who specifically took biology, chemistry and physics courses as their high school science curriculum had the highest percentage of Utah test takers who met the ACT college readiness benchmark for science—at least 20% higher than students who took a different combination of science courses during high school.
More information on the recommended high school courses and financial preparation for college is available at the new StepUpUtah.
% of ACT-tested 2015 Utah high school graduates meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmarks by subject
An achievement gap persists among Utah’s minority students.
In Utah, and across the nation, there continues to be a persistent achievement gap for minorities.
% of ACT-tested 2015 Utah high school graduates meeting ACT College Readiness Benchmarks by race/ethnicity
Other interesting facts:
- Eighty-six percent of Utah’s 2014 ACT-tested graduating class aspired to enroll in postsecondary education, but only 42% actually enrolled.
- Students who declared an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors or occupations scored significantly higher in every section of the ACT than students without a STEM interest.
- The ACT composite scores of Utah’s 2015 graduating class are in the middle of the pack among the 13 states in which 100% of high school graduates take the ACT, but are lower than the national average.