Utah’s average composite ACT score held steady from 2012 to 2013 despite an increase of nearly 1,700 students taking the test and a new way of calculating state and national results that included, for the first time, the scores of 1,200 Utah students and 72,202 students nationally who were granted extended time to take the test. Nationally, average ACT scores declined from 21.1 to 20.9.
Among the states that ACT shows with full student participation, Utah led the way with an average 20.7 score, closely followed by Illinois at 20.6 and Colorado at 20.4
"What this data says to me, is that when you compare Utah’s results with states that have comparable participation, Utahns are getting an extraordinary return on their investment in public education," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Martell Menlove. "Utah students, their teachers and their parents can be proud of these results."
Utah’s ACT pilot program has encouraged increased participation in the test. For the past two years, the state agreed to fund the ACT test for Utah students in schools who applied to be in the pilot. Because the ACT data is not based on Utah individual student data, the actual participation rate is not 100 percent, according to Judy Park, Associate Superintendent for Student Services. ACT uses a statistical model to calculate the percentage of students taking the test rather than individual student data from districts and charter schools. Beginning with this school year, the state has agreed to pay for all Utah 11th grade students to take the ACT exam.