Black students boost ACT scores

Madison students continue to top state average
By TCT staff, news services
Madison high school students bested the state ACT test score average once again for the 12th straight year, with scores of African-American students rising at a greater pace than all other students.
ACT test score comparisons were released today.
According to the Madison Metropolitan School District, the composite score for Madison students was 24.2, or two points higher than the statewide average of 22.2 and more than three points higher than the national average of 21.1. A perfect score is 36.
African-American students in Madison scored an average composite of 18.8, a 6 percent increase from the 17.7 average in 2005, while Asian students had a 23.0 composite this year (22.1 in 2005) and Hispanic students a 21.8 composite (21.5 in 2005).
The big increase in black students’ scores closed the gap on white students’ scores locally, with the white students composite of 24.8, 24 percent higher than the black students composite, down from a 30 percent gap last year.

The overall Madison composite of 24.2 is a tenth of a point lower than last year, but test scores for Madison students have stayed in the lower 24s for the past 10 years, keeping the two-point advantage over the rest of Wisconsin.
The average ACT scores of Wisconsin’s high school seniors remained second-best in the nation this year, one-tenth of a point behind Minnesota and more than a full point above the national average.
State students graduating in 2006 had an average composite score of 22.2, the same score that Wisconsin students achieved for the last six years. It was the 10th best score in the nation, but second among the 25 states in which at least 50 percent of students took the test.
Wisconsin also ranked second to Minnesota in 2005 after holding the top spot for 10 straight years.
The test scale ranges from 1 to 36 and covers math, science, English and reading.
The national average composite score was 21.1, up from 20.9 last year, according to results prepared for release today. Minnesota students led the nation with an average composite score of 22.3.
Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Elizabeth Burmaster attributed Wisconsin’s high performance to the number of students taking a college-preparatory curriculum.
“We, parents and educators, must continue to encourage young people to engage in a rigorous high school curriculum,” she said.
Asian students in Wisconsin scored a composite average of 20.4, American Indians scored 20.1, Hispanics scored 19.6 and blacks scored 17.0. White students in Wisconsin scored an average of 22.6.
The scores by ethnic group in the state have remained consistent over the last five years.
The number of Wisconsin students who took the test was 44,275, about a 3 percent drop over last year. Over the same period, the number of students across the country who took the test increased by 1.7 percent.
More Wisconsin students than the national average exceeded several benchmarks considered indicators that students can handle college-level work. About 77 percent of Wisconsin students met the mark in English, 52 percent in math, 61 percent in reading and 35 percent in science.
Wisconsin’s average scores for the individual subjects each topped the national average. Students’ scores in the state remained constant over 2005 in English, math and reading – 21.5, 22.0 and 22.4 respectively. The students scored 22.2 in science, down one-tenth of a point.
Published: August 16, 2006