Kentucky students still lag national scores on ACT, but the performance gap is narrowing

The State/MCT

While Kentucky public high school graduates are still behind those nationwide on the ACT college-entrance exam, the performance gap is narrowing, Kentucky Department of Education officials said.

Officials said in a news release that Kentucky students have made strides on the test in the last five years. From 2010 to 2014, Kentucky public high school students registered from a half-point to more than a full-point gain in every subject and nearly a one-point improvement in the overall composite score – up to 19.9 on a 36-point scale. At the same time, student performance nationally stayed nearly unchanged. The national composite is 21.1, up one-tenth of a point from 2010.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said the scores show that “our teachers have embraced more rigorous standards and our students are rising to the challenge. Both should be proud of what they have accomplished.”

Composite scores for almost all ethnic groups of public school graduates showed improvement.

Black and Latino students recorded slightly greater gains than white students, but achievement gaps persist, Holliday said.

White students’ composite scores increased from 19.8 to 20.1 from 2013 to 2014. Black students’ composite scores increased from 16.3 to 16.7 and Hispanic students from 18.0 to 18.5.