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Florida scores on ACT decline
More students are taking the test, but not doing as well.
By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
Published August 15, 2007
More Florida high schoolers are taking the ACT, the standardized test many colleges accept in place of the SAT.
Unfortunately, their average scores are dropping.
The composite ACT scores of Florida students have steadily dropped since 2003, even as the number of test takers rose by 46 percent, according to a state ACT report released Tuesday.
Also sinking is the percentage of Florida students who meet college readiness benchmarks in major subjects.
Florida education officials still had not commented on the scores by the end of the day, but ACT officials said Tuesday that the state's low scores compared to the national average raise some concerns about the quality of high school curriculum.
Meanwhile, the rest of the country is getting better. The national average composite score among 1.3-million test takers was 21.2, a slight increase from last year's 21.1. And 23 percent of students proved ready for college course work, up from 21 percent last year.
This year, more than 81,500 Florida students took the test, up from 66,299 last year. The average composite score out of a maximum 36 dropped from a 20.3 to 19.9. And just 16 percent of Florida test takers demonstrated readiness for college work in math, English, science and reading, compared to 23 percent nationwide.
The worst individual subject was science, with just 20 percent of Florida test takers showing college readiness, compared to 28 percent nationwide.
"When you have the number of test takers expand as much as it has in Florida, it's not unusual for scores to go down," said ACT spokesman Ed Colby. "You're adding probably a broader range of academic preparation to the pool, students who are probably less prepared than others are taking it."