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Montana Has Work To Do On College Prep, State Superintendent Says

Montana Has Work To Do On College Prep, State Superintendent Says.
Montana Has Work To Do On College Prep, State Superintendent Says.

The results of Montana’s statewide college-readiness test for high school juniors were released Friday. The overall test scores are identical to the previous year but down over the last four years.

Montana gives the ACT test to nearly all juniors as part of its federal accountability requirements.

The test is also used as an entrance exam for many colleges and universities. It scores students on curriculum sections; English, math, reading, science and sometimes writing.

The more than 9,500 juniors who took the ACT assessment this year combined for a state composite score of 19.6, the same mark received in 2018.

Dylan Klapmeier is with the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

"Worth noting is that the flagship universities in Montana, MSU and UM, as part of their entrance criteria, one of them is a required score of a 22 on the ACT."

The ACT college readiness benchmark is a composite score of 22. The ACT is scored from 1 to 36.

In the release of the data, Friday, State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen wrote, "These ACT results show that Montana has work to do in preparing our students for success in college and careers."

OPI says Montana students this year slightly increased scores in math and English language arts proficiency, however most students still fall below the test’s college ready indicator.

Montana’s combined 2019 score is down a tenth of a point from 2017 and down from the composite of 20 scored in 2016.

Artnzen says not all students need to go to college to find a career, and one test is not an indicator of a student’s full potential.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Corin Cates-Carney is the Flathead Valley reporter for MTPR.