TEA News Releases Online
Aug. 17, 2011
ACT math score hits record high in Texas
AUSTIN – The Class of 2011 posted a record-high math score on the ACT college entrance exam, a clear sign that Texas’ rigorous graduation requirements are producing results.
This class was the first group of students to follow the so-called four-by-four graduation plan, which requires four years of high school study in mathematics, English, science and social studies. They were also required to earn a total of 26 course credits in order to graduate.
The Texas average score on the ACT mathematics exam reached 21.5 out of a possible score of 36. That 0.7 point increase since 2007 is considered a phenomenal increase in scores, and is higher than the national score of 21.1. In comparison, the national average math score increased 0.1 points over the same time period.
This increase occurred even as the state’s number of test takers rose from 92,612 in 2010 to 101,569 in 2011. Since 2009, the number of Texas students taking the ACT increased by 18,929 examinees, a significant number given that the typical increase is about 3,000 per year.
“The state’s four-by-four graduation requirement is clearly beginning to pay off for students in the area of math. Most students take the ACT in their senior year so they have completed Algebra II and are well into a rigorous fourth year math class by the time they take this test,” said Commissioner of Education Robert Scott. The state’s emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education as well as professional development aimed at improving Algebra I instruction also contributed to the increase on both the math and science tests over the five-year period, he said.
Results from 2007 to 2011 show Texas scores increasing for each of the four subjects tested by the ACT – mathematics, reading, English and science – which are used to produce the composite score.
The Class of 2011 in Texas earned a science score of 20.8, a 0.4 point increase over the past five years. The national score fell from 21.0 to 20.9 during this period.
Texas’ English score of 19.6 was an increase of 0.1 points over the past five years while the national score fell 0.1 points to 20.6 during this period.
The state’s reading score increased 0.1 to 20.7 over the five years, while the national score fell 0.2 to 21.3.
Overall, the composite score for Texas held steady for the third straight year at 20.8, even as the number of test takers increased 10 percent from the previous year and 23 percent since 2009. Normally, when the number of test takers goes up, scores fall.
Nationwide during the past five years, the national composite score fell from 21.2 in 2007 to 21.1 this year. The Texas score rose from 20.5 in 2007 to 20.8 in 2011.
Even with the increased participation in the ACT, the dominant test in Texas remains the SAT. Thirty-six percent of the 2011 Texas graduates took the ACT. Nineteen states plus the District of Columbia have lower ACT participation rates and 29 states have higher ACT participation levels. Eighteen states have lower composite scores than does Texas.
ACT estimates that 24 percent of Texas examinees have a 50 percent chance or better of earning a grade of B on core subject area college courses. That is up from 19 percent of examinees in the Class of 2007 who were predicted to succeed in these classes.
The top 10 Texas universities being sent scores by ACT test takers are, in order:
- The University of Texas at Austin
- Texas A&M University – College Station
- Texas Tech University
- Texas State University
- Baylor University
- University of Texas at San Antonio
- University of Texas – Pan American
- University of North Texas
- University of Houston – Main Campus
- Texas Christian University