ACT scores an indicator of failing education?

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, August 26, 2013

North Dakota educators frequently boast about the academic achievements of public school students, based on comparisons of scores on national tests. The ACT is one of those tests.

However, North Dakota’s 2013 high school graduating class scored lower than the national average, which suggests the state has little to brag about. Minnesota students’ composite scores were seventh highest in the nation, and significantly above the national average. The scores come after a period when North Dakota was increasing funding to public schools, and Minnesota schools were struggling with funding shortfalls.

It also is troubling that despite North Dakota students’ below average performance, their ACT scores generally meet admissions standards for the state’s colleges and universities. Which raises the question: Are admission standards too low?

School officials are quick to point out the ACT is but one factor in admitting a student to college. True enough. But the ACT and similar national tests of student achievement have for decades been reliable indicators of a student’s academic success in college.

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