Minnesota students were the top performers on the ACT college entrance exam, among states where nearly all graduating high school seniors take the test.
Seniors in the class of 2020 earned an average composite score of 21.3 out of a possible 36, according to test results released Wednesday. The state’s performance has been virtually unchanged over the past few years, with Minnesota’s numbers bumping up and down between 21.3 and 21.5.
Minnesota students outperformed the national average of 20.6 and ranked first among the 17 states where at least 90% of students take the test. About 92% of the state’s graduating seniors took the test, which measures students’ readiness for college in English, math, reading and science.
The national average of 20.6 was the lowest score over the past decade, and about 26% of students nationwide met the ACT’s four college-readiness benchmarks. That number was slightly higher in Minnesota, where 30% met all four benchmarks.
State Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said in a statement that she is proud of the state’s performance, and she said the state needs to continue supporting students as they prepare for the future amid the “uncertainties of our present.”
“We must continue to find ways for our school communities to support all of our students, especially as we work to tackle the disparities in our education system that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Most of the 2020 graduates took the exam last fall, before the pandemic shut down schools and disrupted test taking.
ACT testing was held over the summer, including an April test date that was postponed to June, and ACT officials limited capacity at testing sites. Students who couldn’t secure a testing spot over the summer are being scheduled for fall testing, though ACT said on its website that the organization is still working to catch up with demand.