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Alabama students fare well in ACT scoring

According to the web site of the Alabama Board of Education, for the sixth consecutive year, college-bound students in the state outscored counterparts in neighboring states with their ACT scores.

Students in the state averaged a score of 20.1, and the average in the 11-state region accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), a region that includes Alabama, dropped slightly from last year to 19.9.

The national average also declined to 20.8 after remaining at 21.0 for the past five consecutive years.

State scores did not decline from last year for the test, which measures skills in English, math, reading and science reasoning. The score for the test ranges from 1 to 36.

"Alabama's high school seniors taking the college entrance exam continue to provide evidence that higher graduation standards have a direct impact on college readiness and work force preparation," said State Superintendent of Education Ed Richardson.

"Our educators should be commended

considering the number of students taking the test continues to grow, yet our results remain steady."

A record number of public and private school seniors in the state (30,955) took the test, and this number represents 71 percent of the Class of 2002, up two percentage points from last year's total of 30,526.

"Overall, subject scores remained the same, except for a slight improvement in reading scores," said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton. "We hope to see that improvement continue if more schools are able to find the resources to adopt the Alabama Reading Initiative."

African Americans in the state, according to the release, scored higher than the national average, and nationally, 11 percent of those taking the test were African American, with an average score of 16.8.

In the state, 25 percent of the test takers were African American, with an average score of 17.0. Caucasians scored an average of 21.7 nationally and 21.2 in Alabama.

One of the primary predictors of success on the test in the state is the income level of the families of students taking the test.

Students whose family income was less than $18,000 averaged a score of 17.5 and students with family incomes between $18,000 and $50,000 averaged 19.4.

Those taking the test with family incomes exceeding $50,000 averaged 21.6 on the test. The trend was apparent across all racial groups.