by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
State test scores will be released later today. But we have ACT scores to analyze in the meantime!
North Carolina’s 2017 ACT-tested graduating class composite score was 19.1 (on a scale from 1 to 36). Last year’s composite score was identical to the 2015-16 score. The fact that all North Carolina high schoolers take the ACT means that casual comparisons to the national average, which was 21.0 last year, are not valid. Twenty states administer the ACT to at least 90 percent of their graduates.
What is worrisome is how few North Carolina graduates met ACT benchmarks in English, reading, math, and science. Fewer than half (46 percent) met the English benchmark. Just over a third (36 percent) met the reading benchmark. The percentage of students who met the math and science benchmarks were 30 and 27 percent, respectively. All are within one or two percentage points of the 2015-16 results.