NEWS RELEASES 2011-12 :: AUGUST 17, 2011


North Carolina students maintained a 21.9 average ACT score in 2011, marking the fourth year that the state's average ACT score was higher than the nation's, according to the 2011 ACT results released today. ACT test scores are among the factors that colleges and universities use in their admissions process.

In 2011, the national average ACT score was 21.1.

"I congratulate the students in the Class of 2011 for continuing a strong showing on the ACT," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "I know that students are setting high goals and standards for their academic work and for their future careers. Today's results are positive news for our state."

Nationally, 49 percent of high school graduates took the ACT. In North Carolina, 18 percent of the Class of 2011 took the ACT, a rate that has steadily increased in recent years. Most college-bound North Carolina high school students select to take the SAT college entrance exam. North Carolina’s participation rate for the SAT was 63.0 percent, compared to 47 percent for the nation, in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available.

Among North Carolina high school graduates who took the ACT in 2011, 30 percent met or surpassed all four of ACT's College Readiness Benchmarks (English, math, reading, and science) compared with 25 percent of the students who took the ACT in the nation.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test consisting of four separate exams in English, reading, mathematics and science, in addition to an optional writing test. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36 with 36 being the highest possible composite score.

The North Carolina State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction are considering using the ACT as a part of North Carolina's future high school accountability model, to begin in 2012-13.

Data provided today reflect scores from both public and private high school students. Local district and/or individual school scores are not available. National and state ACT results can be accessed by going to the ACT's website at .

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.