State's ACT scores steady, Still above national
PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota's average composite ACT score
remains unchanged from last year at 21.8, where it has been
for the past three years. The national average was also
unchanged from a year ago, sitting at 21.1 as it has for
four of the past five years.
While South Dakota's scores are consistently higher than
the national average by several tenths of a point, South
Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp says there
is always room for improvement.
She said efforts, such as implementation of the Common Core
State Standards, should help boost student learning
overall. With the Common Core, students will be challenged
to engage higher-level thinking skills in order to arrive
at a deeper understanding of the concepts they are
"The Common Core standards were designed to equip students
with the knowledge and skills necessary as they move into
postsecondary education and careers," Schopp said.
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 as the
highest possible score. Students are tested in the areas of
English, mathematics, reading and science, although the
science portion is science reasoning, not science-content
knowledge. The ACT test is commonly used as a benchmark for
college entrance and readiness.
In South Dakota, 81 percent of graduating seniors took the
ACT, which is high for states that don't require ACT
testing for graduation.
The state Department of Education offers South Dakota
students several resources to prepare for the test, such as
access to free test preparation materials available through
SDMyLife.com, an online academic and career planning
resource hosted by the department.
In addition, the department collaborates with the Board of
Regents to identify and assist high school students whose
ACT scores indicate they will require remediation at the
college and university level.
"We have tools in place that can help assist these students
in shoring up their knowledge and skills," Schopp said. "If
students can get some of this remedial work done before
their postsecondary education, it will save them both time
and money once they make the transition."
Average Composite ACT Scores - South Dakota vs. National