SD ACT Scores Down a Tick, Test Participation Up

If you put any stock in standardized tests, the latest ACT scores suggest South Dakota kids got dumber while nationwide kids got smarter. South Dakota kids are still beating the national average: we dropped from 21.9 to 21.8 while the national ACT average rose from 20.8 to 21.0.

But don’t be tricked by those numbers. The percentage of South Dakota graduating seniors taking the ACT rose from 76% to 80%, which may explain some of the small decline: the new test-takers may consist of a greater number of lower-achieving students who are joining more traditional, high-achieving students in looking at going to college or vo-tech.

ACT participation rates further support the notion that South Dakota continues to outpace the nation in academic abilities: only 60% of 2017 graduates nationwide took the ACT. South Dakota thus tests a wider range of students and still manages to post better scores than the nation as a whole.

4 Responses to SD ACT Scores Down a Tick, Test Participation Up

  1. Minnesota (of course) is first in the nation again for students scoring the highest on the ACT. That state is first in so many areas, must be doing something right, like a strong DFL party that cares about its people.
    Unlike SD, where it steals money from Native American school kids.

  2. Cory, last year 78% of MN students took the ACT test and still scored better (22.7) than SD where 76% took the test (21.9).

  3. Keeping these scores in context is important. These numbers are not just abstract concepts, but are moreso indicators of students’ college readiness. To that point, these scores indicate that SD kids are ready for success in college. Let’s be sure to take a moment to celebrate the success of our schools and our students when we have the opportunity.

  4. Mr. Lansing

    South Dakota has a lot of middle class Anglo kids propping up the numbers. Is that why so many Republicans hate immigrants moving in?
    Scores from the ACT show that just 9 percent of students in the class of 2017 who came from low-income families, whose parents did not go to college and who identify as black, Latino, American Indian or Pacific Islander are strongly ready for college.
    But the readiness rate for students with none of those demographic characteristics was six times as high, 54 percent, according to data released Thursday. These achievement gaps reflect longstanding disparities in the quality of teachers, rigor of curriculum and degree of academic support available to poor and minority children.