Turnout is greater and more students across the nation are showing they are ready to succeed in college right out of high school.
The 2011 ACT scores were released Wednesday morning.
Illinois is one of only a handful of states to have all of its graduating seniors participate in the test. Of those 144,469 students, 70 percent met at least one ACT college readiness benchmark in the test. 23 percent of the students met the college readiness benchmarks in all four of the subjects tested: English, Reading, Math and Science. That's just two points short of the national average of 25 percent.
"American students are making incremental progress toward being ready to complete college-level work, but there's still significant work to be done," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "In today's knowledge-based economy, American children are competing with the rest of the world for jobs, and our country's long-term economic security is directly tied to the quality of its public education. These ACT results are another sign that states need to raise their academic standards and commit to education reforms that accelerate student achievement."
"The ACT is a benchmark that helps us determine if students are not just ready to enter college but to succeed there,'' said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "As we move forward with our new more rigorous learning standards in Illinois, we expect that more students will be prepared to excel in college and careers. ACT data shows the importance of taking challenging core classes in high school for a smooth transition to college and beyond."
83 percent of the students tested in Illinois expressed an interest in at least obtaining an associate's degree.
Interim President of ACT's Education Division Jon Erickson would like to see that number go even higher in the years to come. "Too many students are still falling through the cracks," said Erickson. "It's important that we work hard to ensure that all young people graduate from high school with the skills they need to succeed in college and career."
Illinois' average composite score on the test was 20.9, just off the national average of 21.1 and up 0.2 from last year.
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