Two graphs showing VA public school ACT scores vs National Averages for ACT scores. The VA public school data is higher on all accounts.

Virginia Students Outscore Nation on ACT

by | Oct 22, 2018 | News, Schools & Education

Richmond, Va. — Virginia public school students outperformed their peers nationwide by significant margins on the ACT college-admissions this year.

The percentage of 2018 graduating seniors in Virginia public high schools who met the ACT’s college-readiness benchmark in each content area was 22 or more points higher than the percentages for public graduates nationwide, with students performing as follows:

  • 79 percent of Virginia public school seniors met the benchmark in English, compared with 57 percent nationwide;
  • 65 percent met the benchmark in reading; compared with 43 percent;
  • 60 percent met the benchmark in mathematics; compared with 37 percent;
  • 56 percent met the benchmark in science, compared with 34 percent; and
  • 45 percent met the benchmarks in all four subjects, compared with 25 percent.

The college-readiness benchmarks identify students whose ACT scores indicate that they are prepared for first-year college English composition, reading, algebra and biology.

The commonwealth’s public school students achieved an average composite score of 23.8 on the ACT, compared with 20.4 for public graduates nationwide. Public school students accounted for 83 of the 95 Virginia students who achieved perfect scores on the test.

ACT results are reported on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest score. An estimated 24 percent of 2018 Virginia graduates — including private and home-schooled students — took the ACT. The overall composite score for Virginia high school graduates — public, private and home-schooled — was 23.9, compared with 23.8 in 2017.

The SAT remains the dominant college-admissions test in the commonwealth. The College Board is expected to release its annual report on student achievement on the SAT later this month.

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