Iowa students are again near the top in the country among those who take a national test designed to see how they’d fare in college. Elaine Watkins-Miller , a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Education, has examined the results of the A-C-T college entrance exam .
She says the average score for Iowa students rose two-tenths of a percent this year, to 22.3, giving Iowa a tie for second with Wisconsin for the highest average composite score. Iowa was third behind Wisconsin and Minnesota last year. Watkins-Miller says the increase came in several areas.
Math, reading and science scores increased, while the English composite score stayed the same. Watkins-Miller says the science composite score went from 22.1 to 22.3, the largest jump. The scores improved for minority students in Iowa that took the test.
Watkins-Miller says:"While still below the state average, the composite score for African-Americans rose two-tenths of a percentage point, at 18.5. The national average is 17. The average composite score for Hispanic students in Iowa increased 0.3 percentage points to 20.1. And the national average for Hispanic students is 18.7." Watkins-Miller says the results are encouraging.
She says it is good news and shows efforts are being made in closing the achievement gap with minority students through a variety of ways such as professional development. But Watkins-Miller says the scores show the need for more effort.
Watkins-Miller says, "There’s work to be done." She says it shows the need to continue encourage Iowa students to take "rigorous" courses to prepare for college and other post-secondary experiences. While Iowa’s average composite score increased, the number of students taking the test also increased from 65% of the graduation class to 66%t.