Illinois Act score is head of the class for states that test at least 90 percent of students

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 Class of 2010: Most Illinois students in history take ACT 


Springfield, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced the Graduating Class of 2010’s composite ACT score is the highest of the eight states that test 90 percent or more of their students. Additionally, Illinois ’ composite score of 20.7 reflects an upward trend over the past five years, despite mirroring the national average with a slight dip from 2009 to 2010.


“The ACT is a benchmark that helps us when we look at preparing students for college and career readiness,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “As we move forward with our newly adopted, more rigorous Illinois Learning Standards, we would expect college and career readiness to improve. It’s important that families and districts ensure students are not just in school but that they’re taking a rigorous core of classes necessary to succeed.”

 Although ACT is designed for students who plan to attend college, Illinois requires all 11th graders, unless they’re exempt, to take the ACT as part of the required state testing under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Illinois ’ composite average of 20.7 is the highest among the eight states in which 90 percent or more graduates tested. Other states with 90 percent or more of their graduates taking the ACT include Colorado , Louisiana , Tennessee , Wyoming , Michigan , Kentucky and Mississippi.  

ACT honored Illinois with its “Systems of Excellence Award” last fall for requiring that all Illinois students take the ACT as part of the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) during their junior year. Illinois first required all students to take the ACT in 2001. 

The 145,520 students included in the Class of 2010 reflect the largest number of test takers in history for a given year and that number has increased by more than 8,000 since 2006 when 137,399 students took the test. Today’s results represent the latest scores achieved by all Illinois 2010 graduates in both public and private schools. 

Illinois’ average ACT composite scores for the past five years has improved, rising from 20.5 in 2006 to 20.7 in 2010. Nationally, there has been a slight dip in the composite score from 21.1 in 2006 to 21.0 in 2010.


Five-Year Trend Composite Scores 

2006                                  2010


·         20.5                                   20.7     Illinois

·         21.1                                   21.0     National


The year-to-year composite score for Illinois students mirrored the national average with a slight dip from 2009 to 2010. 

2009                                  2010


·         20.8                                   20.7     Illinois

·         21.1                                   21.0     National


Illinois students have made gains in all four subject areas from 2006 to 2010.  

Subject:                      2006                2010   


  • English            20.2                 20.3


  • Mathematics   20.3                 20.7


  • Reading           20.6                 20.8


  • Science           20.4                 20.5


Illinois recently adopted the internationally benchmarked Common Core Learning Standards in English and Math for grades K-12. The Standards, written under the leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices ( NGA Center ) aims to better prepare students for college and career. 

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