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Minnesota students again top the nation on ACT composite scores

About 76 percent of Minnesota high school seniors took the college placement tests and the overall scores were best in the nation.

Minnesota high school seniors who took the ACT college placement test this year averaged 22.9 out of a possible 36, to once again lead the nation.

The nationwide average was 21. This is the ninth year in a row that Minnesota students topped the national charts, among states where at least half the students took the test. Minnesota’s statewide average was down a smidge this year from last year’s 23 composite score.

About 76 percent of Minnesota seniors took the test, a total of 45,305. This school year, though, all state high school juniors will take the test, free of charge, as part of new graduation requirements.

That’s expected to boost the number of students going on to post-secondary education, as it gives more of them a glimpse of their abilities and possibilities.

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State Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said: “By moving to a testing system where every student takes the ACT, we will break down barriers of access and ensure every child leaves high school with a score they can use for acceptance and placement at a post-secondary institution.”

This year, state officials say Minnesota had the nation’s highest percentage of students meeting each of the four benchmarks (English, reading, math and science) with 39 percent. The national average was 26 percent.

Gov. Mark Dayton praised the results: “These nation-leading scores demonstrate to the entire country the academic ability of Minnesota students, the dedication of our teachers, and the world-class quality of our education system.”