North Carolina student scores on ACT below national average
RALEIGH — North Carolina parents and educators are getting a clearer picture of how prepared high school students are for college-level work, and the answer is that students on average are below their peers nationwide.
The company behind the ACT college admission test said Wednesday that the average score fell on the exam taken in spring 2012, the first time North Carolina required all high school juniors to take it.
The statewide average of 18.7 points in the test of English, math, reading, and science knowledge was below the national average of 20.9. North Carolina's average composite score fell from 21.9 points last year, when just one in five North Carolina students chose to take the ACT. The ACT's highest possible total score is 36.
North Carolina is one of just nine states that tests all high school juniors. It's part of a statewide requirement measuring whether students are learning what they need for college.
State lawmakers agreed in 2011 to eliminate four standardized end-of-course tests in North Carolina high schools to shift high school juniors to take the ACT to evaluate student performance. Students taking the ACT as juniors can use their senior year to prepare for college-level work
"When we began this process, we knew that our first scores would be lower, but it is important to get a true picture of where we are, in order to improve," state schools State Superintendent June Atkinson said. "We know we have our work cut out for us in terms of raising student expectations and preparing 100 percent of our students for community college- or university-level work."