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Tennessee ACT score averages see significant drop from last year, math hits historic low nationwide


Tennessee ACT score averages see significant drop from last year, math hits historic low nationwide

By ALEXANDER WILLIS

Tennessee underperformed on the ACT test for the 2017-18 school year according to unofficial results from ACT released on Wednesday.

The average composite score was 19.6, a .5 drop from last year’s results, and 38th among all U.S. states.

For comparison, the national average ACT composite score for the 2017-18 school year was 20.8.

Perhaps more troubling was the amount of students, or lack thereof, that met the ACT college readiness benchmark in math. Nationwide, only 40 percent of students who took the ACT met the benchmark in Math – the lowest level since 2004.

Meeting the ACT college readiness benchmark suggests students are prepared and capable of passing a first-year college algebra class.

In terms of meeting the math benchmark, Tennessee students performed well below the national average, with only 28 percent of students meeting the benchmark. This places Tennessee at 40th in the country.

ACT CEO, Marten Roorda, called the math portion of the ACT results a “red flag” for the country and expressed concerns amidst a job market increasingly focused on technology.

“The negative trend in math readiness is a red flag for our country, given the growing importance of math and science skills in the increasingly tech-driven US and global job market,” said Roorda in a statement. “It is vital that we turn this trend around for the next generation and make sure students are learning the math skills they need for success in college and career.”

In terms of meeting English, reading and science benchmarks, Tennessee also scored below the national average, with average scores of 54, 38 and 28, respectively. The national ACT score averages for English, reading and science were 60, 46 and 36, respectively.

Of our seven neighboring states, Tennessee ranked right in the middle, below Kentucky, Georgia and Missouri, but above North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas.

These results are unofficial, with official results being released later this month. These results are based on more than 1.9 million students who took the ACT test in 2018.

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