OK Test Scores Up, But Still Below Average

8-18-04 - OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma's high school seniors raise their average score on the state's most popular college entrance exam for the first time in four years. But a report released today shows the state score is still below the national average on the ACT.

Educators say more work is needed in high school math to prepare students for college.

Oklahoma seniors averaged 20.6 out of a possible 36 points on the exam. The national average is 20.9. Both the state and national averages are up one-tenth of a point over scores that remained stagnant for several years.

But the report shows many graduates have not mastered key academic skills they need to be ready for their first-year college science and math courses.

Nationally, for the first time in seven years average scores on the ACT college entrance exam rose across the board from the previous year.

The high school class of 2004 improved in all subjects and most ethnic groups.

Average composite scores rose one-tenth of a percent, to 20.9, from 20.8 the year before.

But it's still below the average score of 21 recorded by every graduating class from 1997 to 2001.

Administrators say the increase is significant because of the growing number of students who don't plan to attend college who are taking the test; potentially weighing down scores.

Blacks posted the lowest average scores of any ethnic group but increased their average scores two-tenths of a point to 17.1.

Scores rose steadily as family income increased. Students reporting family income of more than 100,000 dollars scored 23.5, while students from families earning under 18,000 scored 18.