Overall results from the 2012 administration of the ACT to Kentucky’s public school juniors and public school graduates show improvements in all subject areas.

The overall composite scores for both juniors and graduating seniors increased slightly from 2011 to 2012.

“These data are part of Kentucky schools’ and districts’ College/Career Ready Rates, and the increases show that our administrators and teachers are focused on the ultimate goal of preparing students for life after high school,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “While the increases in scores are small, they indicate an intensified emphasis on college/career readiness.”

Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning accountability model includes a college/career readiness component, through which schools and districts will be held accountable for the percentage of students who are considered ready for college and/or careers.

The college-ready indicator includes students who met the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) Systemwide Benchmarks for reading (20), English (18) and mathematics (19) on any administration of the ACT. CPE has set systemwide standards for college readiness based on ACT’s English, mathematics and reading assessments.

Meeting the Kentucky systemwide standards of readiness guarantees students access to credit-bearing coursework without the need for developmental education or supplemental courses. Because the data reported in this release are used as one component of the College/Career Readiness Rate, the data related to both juniors and graduating seniors are correlated to those benchmarks for the first time.

More data connected to the Unbridled Learning accountability model will be released in mid-October.

Since 2008 all of Kentucky’s public school juniors participate in the ACT, which assesses English, reading, mathematics and science and is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. The cost of the exam is paid for by state funds. In spring 2012, 44,516 public school juniors took the ACT. The overall composite score for juniors increased from 18.8 in 2011 to 19.0 in 2012.

Composite scores for most ethnic groups of public school juniors also showed some improvement.

The 2012 composite ACT score for Kentucky public school graduating seniors is 19.5, compared to 2011’s composite of 19.2.

Nationally, the 2012 composite score is 21.1, and the composite for 2011 also was 21.1. The national composite score includes both public and non-public school test-takers.

Many Kentucky colleges and universities use ACT scores to inform admissions decisions and to place students in appropriate college courses. ACT scores also are used, along with high school grade point averages, to determine the amount of money high school graduates are eligible to receive through the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) program.