Last year’s action by the Kansas Legislature to allow every Kansas high school student to take the ACT test once at no cost appears to be paying off – 30 percent more students have signed up for the test this year than took the test last year.
Over 32,000 high school students signed up for the ACT test this year, although many districts cancelled school due to weather last week for the first administration. A make-up date will be offered later this Spring. Last year, about 25,000 students took the test.
In addition, nearly 16,600 students also signed up for the ACT Workkeys assessment of workplace skills, which is also being offered at no charge.
Education Commissioner Randy Watson told the House K-12 Education Budget Committee Monday that the jump in participation was good news for the state’s goal of boosting postsecondary attainment by Kansans. “It means thousands of students are now at least thinking of going to college who in past did not even take the ACT because of cost,” he said.
Most students take the ACT their junior year in high school but can take the multiple times. For state reporting purposes, student numbers and scores are reported with their graduating class, regardless of when they took the test.
Kansas tested approximately 71 percent of graduates in the class of 2018 but is expected to join 19 states where at least 98 percent of high school graduates take the test as juniors or seniors, including regional and neighboring states of Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota and North Dakota.
It also means the state’s average composite score and percent of students meeting college-ready benchmarks is likely to drop, because the test will include students less committed and prepare for college.
Each of the 19 states testing at least 98 percent of graduates had a lower composite score than Kansas and fewer students at college ready benefits than Kansas. However, the is a substantial range within that groups, from South Carolina with a composite score of 18.3, 42 percent college ready in English and 30 percent in math to Minnesota, with a composite score of 21.2, 60 percent college ready in English and 48 percent college ready in math.
Kansas had a composite score of 21.6, 67 percent college ready in English and 52 percent college ready in math.
Here is a list of states by percent of students tested, state average scores and percent of students meeting college-ready benchmarks.
Here is the ACT detail report on Kansas.