2014 ACT Results Show Snapshot of Student Performance in West Virginia

August 20, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia graduates out performed students across the nation in English and reading according to data released on Wednesday by ACT. The state 2014 ACT average English score was 20.4 while the national score was 20.3. The state ACT average reading score was 21.4 compared to the average national score of 21.3.
Across the state, 11,191 of this year’s high school graduates took the ACT. Of the state’s graduating class, 65 percent took the ACT at least once. West Virginia’s composite score on the college entrance exam remained the same in 2014 at 20.6 while the national composite score increased from 20.9 to 21 over the same period of time. The states 2014 ACT average math score was 19.5 and science score was 20.6.
 “I applaud the graduating class of 2014 for their ACT achievement but there is still work to be done,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Charles K. Heinlein. “Students, teachers and parents must continue their unwavering focus on preparing our young citizens for future personal and professional success.”
According to ACT’s yearly report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014, college and career readiness problems persist among U.S. high school graduates, with the majority ill-prepared for success at the next level. In West Virginia, only 19 percent of the test takers met all four of the ACT college readiness benchmarks. 
ACT research shows that students who meet the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are more likely to persist in college and earn a degree than those who don’t. The benchmarks specify the minimum score students must earn on each of the four ACT subject tests to have about a 75 percent chance of earning a grade of C or higher and a 50 percent chance of earning a B or higher in a typical credit-bearing first-year college course in that subject area.
Sixty-eight percent of West Virginia students scored at levels indicating they were ready for freshman English courses, compared to 64 percent of students nationwide. In reading, 45 percent of state test-takers were ready for freshman courses, ranking above the national percentage of 44. Thirty-one percent of West Virginia students were college ready in math, compared to 43 percent nationally. In science, 32 percent of West Virginia students were ready, compared to a national average of 37 percent.
ACT data suggest student aspirations are high. The vast majority (95 percent) of 2014 ACT-tested graduates reported that they intend to pursue postsecondary education. The report, however, cautions that having college aspirations isn’t enough. A similar percentage (95 percent) of 2013 tested graduates aspired to higher education, but only 73 percent actually enrolled in a postsecondary institution in fall 2013.
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test made up of four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science, plus an optional writing test. The test is administered in all 50 states and is the predominant college entrance exam in 25 states, including West Virginia. ACT also assesses a student’s ability to succeed in college.
For more information contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communication Office at 304-558-2699.

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