FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 20, 2003
ILLINOIS ACT SCORES SUPPORT COLLEGE-PREP BACKGROUND
Illinois high school students who take a college-preparatory
curriculum outscored their counterparts across the country
on the ACT examination, Illinois State Board of Education
officials said today. The findings are part of the data
released with the annual results of the test, which all
Illinois 11th graders take as part of the Prairie State
Achievement Examination (PSAE). To
see data follow this link
About 41 per cent of the 134,505 Illinois test
takers reported they take a core college prep
curriculum. They scored a composite of 22.5, slightly
higher than the 2001-02 composite of 22.4. The national
composite score is 21.8.
Illinois students who do not take the core
curriculum scored 18.5 up .1, but still below the
national non-core composite score of 19.3.
The ACT scores again confirm what we have observed
in the past -- that students who follow a core curriculum
do better on the test, said State Superintendent
of Education Robert E. Schiller. Our Illinois Learning
Standards establish high expectations for students and
teachers. But more students need to have access to rigorous
courses that are aligned with those standards. The content
of the courses, the sequence of the courses, and the rigor
of the curricula are the key components of a quality educational
program and academic experience leading to higher scores
on the ACT.
The ACT-recommended college core courses include: four
or more years of English, three or more years of math,
three years or more of natural sciences and three or more
years of social sciences.
Although the ACT assessment is designed for students
who plan to attend college, Illinois has given the test
to all high school juniors since 2001. Colorado is the
only other state that gives the ACT to all students.
The composite score for all 134,505 Illinois students
who took the ACT test is 20.2 -- up .1 of a point from
20.1 last year. The composite still compares favorably
with other states where the test-takers are mostly college-bound
Statistically this is a notable increase,
said Schiller. We have the most test takers Illinois
has ever had, yet our scores still went up when national
scores remained flat. We are also testing all of our 11th
grade population and our scores are compared against other
states where students who take the test do so as an option
and precursor for college.
Other Illinois facts from the results include:
- The number of students taking the test is up from
128,753 to 134,505.
- Reading composite score is 20.4
- Math composite is 20.2
- African-American average composite score was 16.8
- Mexican-Americans had an average composite of 17.6
(up 0.1); Puerto Rican, Cuban and other Hispanics had
an average composite of 17.5
- Asian Americans scored an average composite of 22.1
(unchanged from 2002)
- 34 Illinois students scored a perfect 36.
- Males and females each scored an average and equal
composite of 20.2
- Of the 134,505 students tested more than 33,000
did not list a choice of planned educational major or
- Health Science and allied health received the highest
number of interested students with 13,875 expressing
interest in this field. 10,701 listed Business and Management
as a career of choice.