For Immediate Release
August 15, 2007

Number of Illinois students posting perfect scores on the ACT more than doubles in 2007

Perfect scores jump to 68; state composite score remains steady

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education today announced that the number of Illinois students in the graduating class of 2007 to achieve a perfect score on the ACT more than doubled from the previous year. In addition, despite an increase of more than 6,000 students taking the test this year compared to 2003, Illinois' composite score has increased by three-tenths of a point.

"Illinois is one of the few states to have all of its students take the ACT, which helps guide us as we work toward our goal of preparing students for success after graduation. We know by taking more rigorous courses, our students will score better on the test, but also will increase their chance at success in furthering their education," said Christopher Koch, State Superintendent of Education. "We're seeing some great results from this year's test. Our five-year trend continues on an upward swing and doubling the number of perfect scores is a true testament to the great job our educators are doing to engage our kids in the classroom and maximize their learning potential."

In 2007, 68 Illinois students received a perfect composite of 36 compared to 33 in 2006. Overall, scores have trended upward on the four required subject-area tests included in the exam – English, mathematics, reading and science –with the average composite score increasing from 20.2 in 2003 to 20.5 in 2007.

More than 140,000 Illinois students from the class of 2007 took the ACT, an increase of approximately 3,000 from the year before, including all Illinois public 11th grade students. The results released by ACT are for all Illinois 11th graders taking the exam during the 2005-2006 school year, as well as students who took the ACT at an ACT test site. Each student's most recent score is reflected in the report.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test made up of four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science, plus an optional writing test. It is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score. The test is administered in all 50 states and is the predominant college entrance exam for 90 percent of all four-year colleges and universities in the United States.

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 also began testing all students in 2001 with Michigan starting in 2007 and Kentucky and Wyoming beginning in 2008.

Other Illinois facts from the results include:

Since Illinois started administering the ACT to all public school 11th grade students the state has seen significant improvement in the percentage of graduates who meet ACT's College Readiness Benchmarks. A benchmark score in the minimum score needed on an ACT subject area to indicate a chance of obtaining a C or higher in a corresponding college-level course.