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Minnesota Students Earn Best ACT Test Scores in the Nation, as All Student Groups Achieve Higher Scores

9/7/2017 1:17:37 PM

Minnesota ranks first in the nation for states where all students take the ACT test
As Minnesota’s average score reached 21.5, outcomes improved across all student groups
Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith call for increased access to affordable early learning opportunities to eliminate opportunity gaps
ST. PAUL, MN – Minnesota students once again led the nation on ACT college entrance exam scores, with an average score of 21.5, compared to the national average of 21. As Minnesota students earned the top national ranking among states where all students take the test, all measured student groups increased their ACT scores this year, with African American students, Hispanic students, and Pacific Islander students all increasing average scores by 0.5 points. Among states who give the test to more than half of their students, Minnesota ranked fifth in the nation.
“Congratulations to Minnesota students, teachers, school boards, and administrators on this tremendous achievement,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “Ranking #1 in the nation confirms the overall quality of our state’s public education system.”
This year, 31 percent of Minnesota students met each of the four benchmarks—English, reading, math and science—compared to 27 percent nationally. And as Minnesota looks to train the next generation of skilled workers, Minnesota students also outperformed the national average for students reaching the benchmark for science-technology-engineering-math, an indicator of likely success in higher education STEM courses.
“Minnesota students continue to lead the nation on the ACT test, with all student groups showing improvements this year,” said Lt. Governor Smith. “This is great news, especially since Minnesota is one of only a handful of states that makes the ACT available to all students. I am very proud of our hard-working students, excellent educators, and great schools. And we also know we need to keep improving, and close opportunity gaps, so that Minnesota schools work well for all our students.”
Minnesota students ranked first among the 17 states that give the test to all students, with 61,101 students in Minnesota’s graduating class of 2017 taking the test. While this year’s ACT results improved for all student groups, students of color and American Indian students continue to score lower on average than their white peers on the ACT. In order to reduce these gaps, results for students of color and American Indian students need to improve faster.
“I am extremely proud of our students, educators, families, support staff, and everyone else helping students reach this important entrance point to their career and college goals,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “But the ACT is one more reminder of the work we have left to do to make sure every single student in Minnesota is given the opportunity to reach their career and college aspirations. Educators are working toward this goal every day, and we will keep working to improve equity in our schools until we see gaps shrinking everywhere.”
ACT score data were released today in the yearly report “The Condition of College and Career Readiness.” National and state ACT Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017 reports are available on the ACT website at
$2 Billion in New Education Investments
Since taking office, Governor Dayton has pushed for $2 billion in new education investments, including $257 million to help young learners across Minnesota attend early learning programs. This fall, 22,500 kids are attending preschool thanks to these investments. Those investments also include $1.73 billion to improve educational opportunities for all K-12 students across the state. This fall, more than 860,000 current K-12 students will benefit from these investments as they head back to class.
For more information about investments in early learning and K-12 education, click here.
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