ACT Market Share Grows, Districts and States Find the Money

Most colleges and universities accept ACT college entrance exam scores along with its counterpart, the SAT. The SAT however, has declined in popularity over the recent years, giving rise to the ACT.

In Wisconsin, ACT scores have been up as of late, according to The Star. In the public school system, ACT scores were up to 48.1 percent of students being proficient or advanced in math, as opposed to only 47 percent five years ago. Likewise, reading scores were up as well, with 36.2 percent being proficient or advanced, which is up from 36 percent five years ago.

Unfortunately, minorities in Wisconsin are lagging behind their white classmates on the ACT. The Star writes:

“The disparity was deepest among black students, where only 18 percent were in the highest two ranks in math and just 14 percent were in reading. White students were 56 percent proficient or advanced in math and almost 43 percent were in reading.”

Many of these minority students live in poverty.  The Star also writes that:

“The tests show that over 42 percent of Wisconsin students are in poverty. That is a 5 percentage point increase over the past five years. While just over 30 percent of white students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, nearly 82 percent of black students qualify, along with nearly 78 percent of Hispanic students and more than 68 percent of American Indians.”

Meanwhile, Minnesotans take pride in their ACT scores, writes Anthony Lonetree for the Star Tribune. Many Minnesota high schoolers, as many as 25, have scored a perfect score on their ACT. A perfect score is judged to be a thirty-six or a rounded up thirty-five point five or above.

Minnesota leads the nation in perfect ACT scores and in ACT scores in general. Beyond the ACT test scores, colleges also want applicants to be well rounded in life. Many students with 36s compete in sports, community service, band, and student governement.

In Illinois, state officials are considering cutting funding to pay for students to take the ACT for free, reports Kerry Lester for the Journal Star. They are thinking about making the students’ families or the school district pay for children to take the ACT.

The option was voiced after major state budget cuts to education came about. State lawmakers are trying to decide what to cut and what to keep. It costs the state fourteen million dollars a year for its highschoolers to take the ACT. The state is also now implementing a new state wide test called the PARCC, which will double the state’s deficit for testing costs. Accoriding to Lester, many parents and educators are concerned because the PARCC is not accepted by colleges as a substitute for the ACT or SAT.

Then there is the problem about who will pay for the college accepted ACT. Parents do not feel that it is right that they should have to foot the bill for the ACT, says Lester. Others think that less needed programs should be cut first.