2004 ACT Scores Highest In Five Years

August 18, 2004

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia students are the MVPs of the academic achievement arena. West Virginia’s composite score was the state’s highest in five years at 20.5. The average West Virginia ACT scores in English, mathematics and reading also were ranked as the state’s highest scores in the last five years.  

From 2000 to 2004, West Virginia’s English average score increased by .5 to a score of 20.6, an increase of .2 higher than the national average of 20.4. From 2000 to 2004, the average mathematics score increased by .4, and the average reading score increased by .2. All of these increases are statistically significantly. A change in scores must be .1 or higher to be considered statistically significant, according to ACT officials.  

The scores in English, mathematics and reading for 2004 were also higher than the 2003 scores. The average English score increased from 20.3 in 2003 to 20.6 in 2004, an increase of .3. The average mathematics score increased from 19.2 in 2003 to 19.4 in 2004, an increase of .2. The average reading score increased from 20.9 in 2003 to 21.2 in 2004, an increase of .2.  

In another positive trend, West Virginia high school graduates continue to narrow the gap between West Virginia’s average ACT composite score and the nation’s. The average West Virginia composite score for 2004 high school graduates jumped by .2 making the average score 20.5, the highest average score in five years. In 2003, the difference between the state composite average and the national average was .5; in 2004, the gap has narrowed to .4.  

ACT’s national average composite score increased from 20.8 in 2003 to 20.9 in 2004, the first increase in seven years. In 2000 and 2001, the average West Virginia composite score was 20.2. In 2002 and 2003, the average West Virginia composite score was 20.3. Each of these increases is statistically significant.  

“Educators, parents and the communities should be very proud of these indicators of academic achievement,” said State Schools Superintendent David Stewart. “We know that our goals in raising achievement are beginning to be met. We continually raise the bar, and each year, our students surpass our expectations. We are so proud of their accomplishments.”  

Academic growth is also evidenced when the ACT scores are disaggregated by race/ethnicity. Comparisons between 2003 and 2004 national data show that the African American/Black, Caucasian American/White, Hispanic and Asian American/Pacific Islander subgroups all had higher averages in 2004 than in 2003. The largest gain (.9) was made by the Asian American/Pacific Islander subgroup.  

West Virginia’s African American students achieved higher average scores by jumping from a state average of 16.9 in 2003 to 17.5 in 2004, an increase of .6. Further, West Virginia’s African American students outscored the African American national average of 17.1, which improved by .2.  

West Virginia’s male high school graduates of 2004 had higher average scores in the composite score (20.6 for males and 20.4 for females), mathematics (20.0 for males compared to 18.9 for females) and science (20.8 for males compared to 20.0 for females). Female 2004 graduates outperformed their male classmates in English (21.0 for females compared to 20.0 for males) and reading (21.2 for females compared to 20.9 for males).  

The ACT Assessment is the nation’s most widely accepted college admission and placement exam. The exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest score possible. Taken by nearly 1.2 million graduates, ACT scores are accepted as admission tests at virtually all colleges and universities in the nation.  

For more information about the ACT, please contact Dr. Beth Cipoletti, coordinator for the Office of Student Assessment, at (304) 558-2546.

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