Iowa teens in the class of 2003 who took the A-C-T college entrance exam had an average score of 22 — placing Iowa second in the nation, behind Wisconsin’s test-takers and tied with students in Minnesota. Judy Jeffrey is an administrator in the Iowa Department of Education. Jeffrey says state officials are “satisfied” with the score, although they’d like to see improvement. A-C-T spokesman Ken Gullette says in each of the past five years, about two-thirds of graduating seniors in Iowa schools have taken the test. The average composite score for Iowa students in each of the past five years has been 22, and that’s “fairly positive” according to Gullette.
Gullette says there’s a greater need in every state, including Iowa, for students to get better prepared for college by taking the tough courses in high school.
He says about one-fourth of college freshman drop out of school before their sophomore year, and one of the main reasons is because they weren’t academically-ready for college-level work. For the first time, A-C-T measured whether test-takers were ready for college-level courses. Gullette says only 26 percent of the students who took the A-C-T were prepared enough to earn a C or better in a college biology class, and only 40 percent were prepared to earn an A, B, or C in a college algebra class. Gullette says there’s been a great national focus over the past couple of years on the writing skills of high school students, but he says “what is apparent is that we’re neglecting two very important things: math and science.”
The A-C-T is the predominant college entrance exam in Iowa and 24 other states — for example, all students in Illinois and Colorado take the test. Sixty-six percent of Iowa’s class of 2003 took the A-C-T.