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For Immediate Release: Aug. 19, 2009
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

State's ACT scores hold steady

South Dakota’s average ACT composite score was 22.0 in 2009, unchanged from 2008. The national average was 21.1. South Dakota’s scores in each of the four subject-area tests – English, reading, math and science – also were above the national average.

The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score. Seventy-four percent of the state’s 2009 graduating class took the ACT.

Students who reported taking “core” courses during their high school careers fared better than those who reported taking “non-core” courses. The average composite of students who took core courses was 22.7, compared to 19.4 for those not taking core. ACT defines core as a specific pattern of English, math, social science and natural science courses. These courses mirror the state’s graduation requirements.

“Those core courses teach essential skills that build the foundation for future learning,” said Secretary of Education Tom Oster. “The results demonstrate how important it is for students to grasp these basic concepts and skills.”

The average ACT composite score for Native American students was 17.6 in 2009, up from 17.5 last year. “The achievement gap is real here in South Dakota, and it’s something that we are constantly watching,” Oster said. “It’s great to see this growth, but we need to see more successes.”