Florida at Back of the Pack in ACT Scores
Around the State
Florida’s education system may have undergone changes in leaps and bounds over the last decade, but according to ACT test scores released Wednesday, Florida’s high schoolers are severely unprepared for college.
Out of all 50 states (and the District of Columbia), Florida’s graduating class of 2014 fell to the back of the pack.
Many states in the Northeast had higher scores than the national average, with Massachusetts taking the No. 1 slot.
According to the report, the average ACT score in Florida was 19.6 out of 36, nearly 1.5 points lower than the national composite average of 21.
This number has remained unchanged from last year’s report.
For the last decade, Florida has consistently ranked in the mid-to-bottom 40s in composite scores.
To opponents of high-stakes testing, the results are a symbol of a deeper issue and indicate a systematic failure in the nation’s education system as well as too great a focus on standardized testing.
“The lack of progress toward excellence and equity will provide further ammunition for the country’s growing testing resistance and reform movement,” said FairTest Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer. “Ending the counterproductive fixation on standardized exams is necessary to create the space for better assessments that actually enhance learning and teaching.”
But despite Florida’s lackluster performance, there’s still a silver lining in the report -- more students than ever are taking the admissions test, which indicates a greater interest in continuing on to heading to college.
Over half of the country’s 2014 graduates (57 percent) opted to take the ACT, a 3 percent increase from last year.
In Florida, over 5,000 more students took the exam in 2014 than in the previous year.
““In today’s global economy, it is more important than ever for individuals to continue their education beyond high school,” said Jon Whitmore, ACT chief executive officer. “The skills needed to compete in the job market are becoming increasingly advanced.”
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen