College Bound Students are Packing High ACT Scores

August 19, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As West Virginia students get ready to head off to college, they are packing strong ACT scores. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced Wednesday that the average composite ACT score for the Class of 2009 remained at 20.7.


African-American students showed the most significant increases by achieving an average composite score of 17.5 in 2009 compared to 17.3 in 2008. The national average composite score for the African-American student group is 16.9.

“The trend in the state’s ACT composite score is encouraging and I am very proud of our students, teachers, principals and other school leaders,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “I expect to see increases each year by all student groups with the further implementation of the new Global21 curriculum.”

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 ACT is scored on a scale of one to 36. The test is administered in all 50 states and is the predominant college entrance exam in 25 states, including West Virginia. In 2009, nearly 12,000 West Virginia high school graduates took the ACT

West Virginia’s effort to improve student achievement is a result of its efforts to restructure its educational system from preschool to high school. Part of this effort is West Virginia’s membership in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. West Virginia was the second state in the nation to join the partnership.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, along with the West Virginia Board of Education, the WVDE, state legislators, educators and other community members have signed a statement of support indicating their commitment to Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it. In addition to core subjects, Global21 places a special emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, global awareness and business literacy, among other skills. As part of the system-wide implementation of Global21, the department has aligned its Content Standards and Objectives (CSOs) with performance skills and international rigor. The new CSOs took effect during the 2008-2009 school year.

The state ACT average reading score remained at 21.4 in 2009. The national average reading score also is 21.4. The state ACT average English score remained steady at 20.8 in 2009. West Virginia’s average English score is above the 2009 national average English score of 20.6. The state average science score remained steady as well at 20.5 in 2009.  The West Virginia average score in mathematics remained at 19.6 in 2009.

For more information regarding the ACT assessment, contact the West Virginia Department of Education's Communications Office at (304) 558-2699.

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