Kansas ACT scores dip as more students take test

In this April 1, 2014 photo, an ACT Assessment preparation book is seen in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

? The number of Kansas high school students taking the ACT college entrance exam continued to grow this year, although average scores statewide dipped slightly in all four subject areas, the Kansas Department of Education said.

“While we are encouraged by the increasing number of Kansas students preparing for postsecondary education, we know we have to better prepare our students both academically and socially-emotionally for life after high school,” Education Commissioner Randy Watson said.

The statewide trend was somewhat different from the results in the Lawrence school district where average scores rose slightly in 2017.

According to the agency, 24,741 Kansas students took the ACT exam this spring, the most in the past seven years. But the average composite score dropped slightly to 21.7, which was still higher than the national average of 21.

Compared to 2016, average scores fell slightly in all four subject areas: English; reading; math; and science.

Only 29 percent of Kansas students met ACT’s college readiness benchmarks in all four subject areas, compared to the national average of 27 percent.

Watson said the department is focused on increasing the number of Kansas students entering and completing post-secondary education programs, including two-year degrees, four-year degrees, job training certificate programs or entering the military.

He cited a national study by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce that said by 2020, 71 percent of the jobs in Kansas will require some sort of post-secondary degree or certificate.