Vermont students outpace national averages on ACT

By Tiffany Danitz Pache

Vermont students who took the ACT, a college readiness test, in 2017 scored higher than the national average in the four subject areas covered, according to a report released by the testing and research organization.

The 2,108 graduates who took the test — about 30 percent of those who received high school diplomas in Vermont this year — scored slightly better in individual subjects than Vermonters who took the test in 2013, according to a five-year trend analysis in the Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017.

Benchmark scores in English, math, reading and science must be reached for students to show they are ready for college level work.

With the Vermont group, 80 percent of test takers were ready for college level English compared to 61 percent nationally. In math, 61 percent were deemed ready versus 41 percent nationally; 66 percent were ready in reading versus 47 percent; and 55 were ready for college science compared with 31 percent nationally. Overall, just under half, or 44 percent, of test takers met all four college-ready benchmarks.

Seventy-five percent of the Vermont students identified themselves as white. The ACT’s national analysis revealed that students of other races, from low-income families or who are the first in their family to aspire to college were less likely to do well.

African-American students in Vermont did not score as well as their racial peers across the country. Vermont’s Pacific Islander students actually performed below the Vermont average but better than students in their racial group overall.

The Vermont Agency of Education warns about drawing conclusions from the ACT testing data because so few students take the test. In Vermont, only 27 African-American graduates and two Pacific Islander students took the test, according to a breakdown by race in the ACT’s analysis.

In Vermont, 6 percent of the students who took the ACT would be the first in their families to attend college, according to the test data.

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