Virginia students improve, beat US average on ACT


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia students continue to improve and exceed the national average on the ACT college admissions exam, the Virginia Department of Education reported Wednesday.

The department said Virginia public school students scored an average of 22.6 on the test this year. That tops last year's score of 22.4 and is well above the national average of 21.

Virginia students improved and beat the national average in math, reading and science. Virginia's English score remained at 22 but also was above the national average.

The overall score including public, private and homeschooled students in Virginia was 22.8, up from 22.6 a year earlier.

ACT results are reported on a scale of 1 to 36. Officials said 26 Virginia students achieved a perfect score, 24 of which were public school students.

Although the SAT remains the dominant college admissions test in Virginia, the number of graduating Virginia public school seniors taking the ACT increased more than 4 percent to 19,491.

"These results build on long-term trends of higher achievement and increased participation in ACT testing," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said in a written statement. "Both of these trends reflect the successful efforts of educators across the state to equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful and pursue their postsecondary dreams."

Virginia students also outperformed their national peers on the ACT's college-readiness benchmarks by at least 10 percentage points in all categories. The benchmarks identify students whose scores indicate they are prepared for first-year college English composition, reading, algebra and biology.

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